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...

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...

Solera Aging in Whiskey

Solera Aging in Whiskey

I wonder if we won’t start seeing more solera aged bottlings of whiskey in the future… Dave Pickerell was the first to use the solera aging technique in whiskey production here in the U.S. No one can argue with Hillrock Estate’s success. An incredibly accomplished distiller on a farm in upstate New York that is creating whiskeys from grain to glass using grains that are actually grown on the farm? It’s like a idyllic modern craft whiskey daydream…and it’s winning awards and being bought off liquor store shelves faster than it’s stocked. Now we have Blade and Bow from Diageo. For Blade and Bow bourbon, Diageo has implemented a five barrel solera system at Stitzel-Weller, where the bottom or #5 barrel contains some of the original Bourbon that was...

Larceny is the new Old Fitzgerald?

The Larceny brand of bourbon by Heaven Hill is a nod to the legend of John Fitzgerald… Max Shapiro’s daughter, Kate Shapiro Latts, is the business savvy designer of the marketing behind Larceny. Who doesn’t love a good story? (Not to mention a great label) During the Civil War, the Internal Revenue Act of 1862 authorized the Federal government to impose a temporary excise tax on distilled spirits. This act was intended “to provide Internal Revenue to support the Government and to pay Interest on the Public Debt.” The act created the positions of storekeeper and gaugers. Storekeepers oversaw the administrative operations, including records and tax filings. They oversaw physical operations and controlled access to the grains, still,...

Old Fitzgerald- the Survivor.

Old Fitzgerald- the Survivor.

Everyone wants Pappy Van Winkle, but Old Fitzgerald came first. The Old Fitzgerald brand (originally Jn.E.Fitzgerald bourbon) was created by S.C. Herbst around 1870. In the 1890’s Herbst purchased the Old Judge Distillery and renamed it the Old Fitzgerald Distillery. The Old Fitzgerald brand survived Prohibition (It was sold as medicinal whiskey) and was purchased soon after by Pappy Van Winkle for $10,000. He introduced to the recipe “a whisper of wheat” which the Van Winkle line is famous for. It was distilled at Stitzel-Weller until the distillery was sold in 1972 to Norton Simon. It would later be bought by United Distillers (now Diageo). United Distillers built the modern Bernheim Distillery in 1992 and production of the wheated line of...