Old Fitzgerald- the Survivor.

Old Fitzgerald- the Survivor.

Everyone wants Pappy Van Winkle, but Old Fitzgerald came first. The Old Fitzgerald brand (originally Jn.E.Fitzgerald bourbon) was created by S.C. Herbst around 1870. In the 1890’s Herbst purchased the Old Judge Distillery and renamed it the Old Fitzgerald Distillery. The Old Fitzgerald brand survived Prohibition (It was sold as medicinal whiskey) and was purchased soon after by Pappy Van Winkle for $10,000. He introduced to the recipe “a whisper of wheat” which the Van Winkle line is famous for. It was distilled at Stitzel-Weller until the distillery was sold in 1972 to Norton Simon. It would later be bought by United Distillers (now Diageo). United Distillers built the modern Bernheim Distillery in 1992 and production of the wheated line of...

Barrel Shortage Effect

Barrel Shortage Effect

The barrel shortage is affecting our American whiskey… There are just about 27 cooperages in America…http://www.acia.net/membership.html The demand for good aged American white oak is such that most staves are not aged, as they once were, in the open, but kiln dried. Open-air drying (as compared to the more rapid kiln drying) decreases the possibility of barrel leakage, and leaches more tannins from the wood, resulting in a softer, finer finish to the whiskey. Most cooperages won’t even answer the consumer anymore how long the staves have cured. Wine makers often scoff at the quality of “whiskey barrels” and distillers often have no room to complain because they are trapped. Either you get what you get or you get nothing. There is an...

Possible Origin for the Word “Whiskey”?

I discovered a new option for where the word “WHISKEY” may have originated… The word “whisk” (Scotch: quhiske)- to move rapidly, to go lightly-is the word given to to light chase apparently invented by the Scots-Irish whiskey smugglers to escape tax collectors! The King’s law required that all liquors be transported in barrels of sixty gallons or more. Taxes could then be placed on the liquor and the size of the wagon transporting the liquor. The smugglers would use small, one horse wagons and put their liquor in smaller 5 or 10 gallon barrels to travel swiftly over the moors and less used roads to escape detection. The “whiskeys”, or fast moving delivery carts, as they were called would’ve been well known by...

The Taft Decision

The Taft Decision

Did you know that President Taft is responsible for defining “what is whiskey?” E.H. Taylor with the help of John G. Carlisle, then the Secretary of the Treasury, enabled the passing of the Bottled in Bond Act of 1897 to help eliminate the widespread adulteration of whiskey. In 1906, during Teddy Roosevelt’s administration, the Pure Food and Drug Act was passed. This caused arguments between the two big whiskey producing factions, however. Harvey Wiley, the chief of the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Chemistry and a leader in passing of the Pure Food and Drug Act, believed that whiskey was a distilled spirit from grain that was aged in oak barrels with only pure water used to adjust the proof. The rectifiers, those whiskey producers...

Abraham Lincoln. Tavern Owner?

Abraham Lincoln.  Tavern Owner?

Did you know that Abraham Lincoln was a tavern owner? Abraham Lincoln was born and raised in Kentucky. His father, Thomas, was a cooper and carpenter. In 1816, his father sold his farm for 10 barrels of whiskey and $20 and moved his family to Indiana. In 1830, when Lincoln was 21, they moved again to Decatur, Illinois. Around 1833, Lincoln, William Berry and Joe Bowling Green opened a tavern in New Salem, Illinois. Berry said of Lincoln, ” he did work the latter part of one winter in a little still house, up at the head of a hollow.” They charged 1 bit for a whiskey (a common coin at the time was the Spanish bit worth 12 1/2 cents. 2 bits was 25 cents). Lincoln’s exposure to liquor as a tavern keeper may have had an effect on his thoughts on...