The Cost of Prohibition for Pennsylvania

The Cost of Prohibition for Pennsylvania

While it is slowly becoming common knowledge that Pennsylvania is the birthplace of American whiskey, I’m often asked, ”Why is Pennsylvania only now showing signs of distilling life again?” The truth lies in the duration and aftermath of Prohibition. In 1899, there were close to 965 distilleries in the country with about 400 of them located in Pa. By 1914, that number had been reduced to 434, and by Prohibition, there were only 27-33 left. (ref.- http://www.bottlebooks.com/american%20medicinal%20spirits%20company/american_medicinal_spirits_compa.htm) Consolidation and the shuttering of so many distilleries left the distilling industry on the brink of collapse. The reality was that the political will and capital that remained in support of distilling would begin...

Lincoln Henderson’s Angel’s Envy

Lincoln Henderson’s Angel’s Envy

Most bourbon drinkers have seen that beautiful bottle of Angels Envy by now.  It has what’s called “shelf appeal” because it stands out among the other bourbons when they’re all lined up on the bar shelf.  The tattoo-like wings and the tall graceful bottle…You know you’ve seen it. The whiskey itself is about 4-6 years old. It was sourced from an undisclosed distillery in Kentucky and then finished in port barrels.  I’ve read that the port barrels used to finish Angel’s Envy bourbon are 60 gallons, but I’ve also read that they used port pipes (a large tapered barrel used in the port industry) which are closer to 150 gallons…not sure on that one.  The company didn’t establish a distillery until 2013 so the whiskey had to be sourced from elsewhere.  The most...

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...

Industry Camaraderie

Industry Camaraderie

One of the things I have always loved about the whiskey industry is the camaraderie. The success of the whole industry comes before any one individual. On November 7, 1996, Heaven Hill’s production plant in Bardstown was almost completely destroyed by fire. The fire started in an aging warehouse and spread to other buildings and vehicles. 90,000 barrels of flammable bourbon were consumed. A “river of fire” flowed from the warehouses. The next day, business at the plant resumed. The bottling line was still operational and they still had stocks that needed to fill orders. The production end was crippled, however, and there were gaps in inventory. In many other businesses, competitors would leave a struggling company to sink or swim. Kentucky...