George Washington’s Rye Whiskey

Did you know that at the time our first President passed away, he owned the largest distillery in the country? George Washington was not a whiskey drinker, but he was impressed with whiskey as a financial investment. Washington’s farm manager in the 1790’s was James Anderson, a Scottish immigrant with experience in distilling. It was Anderson that convinced the former President to begin making rye whiskey and once Washington saw the profits, the distillery expanded. By 1799, the Mt. Vernon distillery was producing about 11,000 gallons of whiskey a year. George Washington was very familiar with the desire for whiskey throughout our newly established country. As a general, he knew that whiskey was a necessity for troops. Each soldier in 1785 was given a 4 oz....

Whiskey Stereotypes Debunked

Whiskey is not more “dangerous” than wine or beer. I know that may sound silly to say, but this has been an American cultural claim that I feel needs addressing. Generally speaking, whiskey is one of the healthiest forms of alcoholic beverages. Our culture has often pigeonholed whiskey drinkers as “hard drinkers” and that is an unfair stereotype. The association with alcoholism and whiskey has connections that go back well before prohibition, but they are still with us today. The myths and biases about whiskey are embedded in our society. Even Thomas Jefferson thought wine was culturally superior to whiskey! We can, however, educate ourselves about the realities and distance ourselves from these myths. The ethanol in whiskey is the same ethanol that is found in...

Al Capone Went to Prison Today…

Al Capone Went to Prison Today…

Did you know that today is the day that Al Capone went to prison? On this day in 1931, Al Capone was sentenced to 11 years in prison for tax evasion and fined $80,000. It was the beginning of the end for the most notorious criminals of the Prohibition era. “Scarface” was given control of the Chicago crime syndicate in 1925, when the crime boss Johnny Torrio retired. Capone’s wealth grew enormously during Prohibition. The smuggling of illegal hooch into Chicago was very lucrative and by 1930, he was at the top of the FBI’s wanted list. I always find it ironic that Al Capone was arrested and charged with tax evasion when the government was fully aware that they had lost the equivalent of 50% of their own tax income by imposing Prohibition on the country. The...

Laphroaig’s Team

Laphroaig’s Team

Got to meet John Campbell,master distiller, and Simon Brooking, Brand Ambassador, for Laphroaig last night. What a pleasure it was to talk whisky with them. Mr.Brooking and his secret stash allowed for a dram of Bowmore’s Devil’s Cask as well…beautiful. I was properly chastised for not having become a member of the “Friends of Laphroaig”. It is very easy to join and get updates on new releases and claim “your own square foot of Islay.” (pronounced Eye-leh) It’s true! You actually get a dedicated square foot of earth that is mapped by GPS. On visiting the distillery and Islay, you can plant you flag, sculpture, plaque, etc. on your plot once you locate it! All you have to do is buy a bottle of Laphroaig and the...

Pakistan has a Distillery…

Pakistan has a Distillery…

Did you know that there is a distillery in Pakistan? Alcohol consumption is illegal, but that wasn’t made law until 1979 by the Hudood Ordinance. The Murree Brewery is the oldest and largest brewery in Pakistan. It doesn’t have much competition (is almost a monopoly there) due to the government’s strict regulation of alcohol. Murree Brewery Company Ltd. was established in 1860 to provide beer for British soldiers and personnel stationed in India. The brewery struggled through water shortages, natural disasters, and different ownership, but has survived through it all. In the 1960’s the brewery began distilling and aging single malt whiskey. They now have over 500,000 liters of whiskey aging in their underground storage cellars. They age a 12 year old and released...