The Myth of Elijah Craig

The Myth of Elijah Craig

The story of Elijah Craig becoming the “father of bourbon” is a great story. And that’s what it is…a story. It goes like this…Craig opened his distillery in 1789, and according to legend his key contribution to the development of Bourbon was the introduction of charred oak barrels. There are two tales- The first is that the barrels were scorched in an accident, and Craig made his convenient discovery by using the charred barrels anyway. The other is that the Reverend Elijah was trying to recycle used barrels by charring the insides. It is amusing that these tales both portray Craig as a miserly cheapskate, and in either scenario it is hard to imagine Craig as being especially concerned with the quality of his whiskey. Either way, the...