The Whiskey Wars

Maybe you’ve heard about the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794, but the Whiskey Wars? October, and conversations with people about pre-Prohibition whiskeys, got me thinking about the Whiskey Wars. They began in October of 1869 when army veterans found nine stills in an alley after a knife fight. There were many many illegal stills in NYC at the time and most of them were located in Vinegar Hill or “Irishtown.” Distilling was legal at the time, but the problem wasn’t with whiskey, it was with taxes. Distillers hadn’t seen their whiskey taxed from 1817 until 1862 and had become used to their profits. The Civil War created a desperate need for government revenue and taxes went from zero to 20 cents per 100-proof gallon. By 1868 it had gone up to $2.00 which is equal to $30...

History of Rebel Yell in America

History of Rebel Yell in America

Rebel Yell is one of those old throwbacks. A wheated bourbon. And yes, it was made along side Pappy Van Winkle at Stitzel-Weller. The brand has changed hands and recipes, but it is a part of American bourbon history. The brand was established after Prohibition in the 1940’s. The bottle may claim 1849, but that is when W.L. Weller & Sons company was founded. Charles R. Farnsley (a former mayor of Louisville) created the brand for the Stitzel-Weller company, with the idea to distill it in limited batches for exclusive distribution in the south. Lucky for him, his uncle was co-owner of the company, Alex Farnsley. It seems he originally created the whiskey for himself and to give as gifts, but the label went public in the 60’s to commemorate the Civil War...