Why Is Kentucky Home To So Many Distilleries?

Why Is Kentucky Home To So Many Distilleries?

We all know that there are lots of distilleries in Kentucky. Why Kentucky? There are many reasons for Kentucky maintaining its hold on whiskey production in the United States during and after Prohibition (we’ll discuss that another time…), but it had to all start somehow… Before Kentucky became a state in 1792, the country was changing and growing and settlers were making their homes in the Virginia Colony. Folks like Daniel Boone were making their way through the Cumberland Gap and moving west. Part of the interest in seeking out land in Virginia were the land grants offered to soldiers after the Revolutionary War. In 1779, the Virginia Land Office was established and official awards of “bounty lands” were awarded for specified Revolutionary...

John Hall’s Forty Creek

John Hall’s Forty Creek

I have found that many of the new distillers in America have come to distilling from breweries and beer production. It’s a logical step, as “beer” must be brewed before whisky can be distilled from it. (I’ve always liked the saying, “Whisky is what beer wants to be when it grows up…”) Some distillers come to whisky with wine expertise as well. Why make cognac when you can make whisky, right? One such wine producer in Canada that has made the transition to whisky production is John Hall of Forty Creek Distillery. The international community is paying more attention to Canadian whisky largely because of Mr. Hall’s contributions to craft production. John Hall started making wine in the 1970’s and purchased Kittling Ridge Estates Winery in Grimsby, Ontario in...

Jim Murray’s World Whisky of the Year for 2016 goes to…

Jim Murray’s World Whisky of the Year for 2016 goes to…

So the news is out that Crown Royal’s Northern Harvest Rye was named the 2016 World Whisky of the Year by renowned whiskey writer Jim Murray. This news will most definitely affect sales for Crown Royal, but it may affect a bit more. Rye whiskey is making a comeback all over North America! Let’s be clear that the term “rye” does not carry the same definition in Canada as it does in the U.S. We know rye whiskey, here in America, to mean that at least 51% of the mashbill is made of rye grains. Original styles of rye whiskey grew out of Pennsylvania and Maryland and were crafted based upon which surplus grains farmers from those regions accumulated after their harvests. In Canada, the original style of whiskey produced there was made of wheat. Early in Canada’s...

Whiskey and Baseball.

Whiskey and Baseball.

Nothing is more American than Whiskey, Baseball, and Apple Pie. Only, it turns out apple pie isn’t originally American at all…Apples aren’t even native to the Americas. So I’m just going to deal with whiskey and baseball! So much of American history is reflected in the history of its creations. It just so happens that baseball and American whiskey were created around the same time and their own histories reflect that of our country. I’ve created a timeline from 1820-1964…this is when baseball becomes modern and bourbon becomes America’s “native spirit.” *First mentions of bourbon began in 1820’s *Alexander Cartwright (developer of baseball) was born in 1820 1830s- James Crow was experimenting with the sour mash technique/working on a consistant...

What defines whisk(e)y?

What defines whisk(e)y?

So what determines what whisk(e)y is anyway? Government laws and regulations do. They have changed over the years, but as whiskey becomes a larger contributor to government budgets (through taxes) the government tends to take a larger interest. It is no great surprise that the government would take such an interest. Before Prohibition in the United States, taxes on whiskey alone accounted for 1/2 of national revenue! (There is an argument to be made that Prohibition caused the Great Depression…) Keeping your “native spirit” under domestic control is important not only to maintain its integrity, but also to maintain its tax contributions. There are so many differences in laws relating to whiskey that the only real connection that whiskey has throughout the...