Pre-Prohibition Distillers of Pennsylvania

I have spent the last few years researching and cataloging information on nearly 200 distilleries that produced rye whiskey across Pennsylvania before 1920. The information about Pennsylvania’s distilling history along with the traditions that established Pennsylvania as the leader in American rye whiskey production has been lost to generations of Pennsylvanians, not to mention the many new whiskey drinkers just learning about our country’s distilling heritage. I am making my best effort to reopen the history book of Pennsylvania rye whiskey and bring these distilleries back into the conversation. Bourbon is a whiskey that began its introduction to American drinkers in the early 1800s, joining the rye whiskey that had already been sitting comfortably...

Remember Remember the 5th of November…

It’s the 5th of November…Guy Fawkes Day… Did you know that George Washington condemned the celebration of Guy Fawkes Day, otherwise known at the time as “Pope Day”? The colonies were in need of the support of Canadian, French Catholics and, needless to say, his soldiers burning the Pope in effigy was not ideal in winning the Canadians’ trust.  Before the American colonies found another enemy to distrust (namely the British), many colonists were staunchly anti-Catholic. The prejudices against Catholics in the new colonies were carried over from Europe. Guy Fawkes and his Catholic conspirators’ attempt to blow up the English King James and his new Parliament (and replace him with his Catholic daughter) did not go over well in London. In Boston, before...

Mark Twain’s “Life On the Mississippi” (book excerpt)

Mark Twain’s “Life On the Mississippi” (book excerpt)

Sometimes a little Samuel L. Clemens (aka, Mark Twain) is in order… How solemn and beautiful is the thought that the earliest pioneer of civilization, the van-leader of civilization, is never the steamboat, never the railroad, never the newspaper, never the Sabbath-school, never the missionary — but always whiskey! Such is the case. Look history over; you will see. The missionary comes after the whiskey — I mean he arrives after the whiskey has arrived; next comes the poor immigrant, with ax and hoe and rifle; next, the trader; next, the miscellaneous rush; next, the gambler, the desperado, the highwayman, and all their kindred in sin of both sexes; and next, the smart chap who has bought up an old grant that covers all the land; this brings the...

Why is there a Tax Strip on my Whiskey Bottle?

Why is there a Tax Strip on my Whiskey Bottle?

What is a tax strip and why is it on the cap of my whiskey? Tax strips are the bit of paper that were affixed over the cap/cork to indicate that the tax had been paid and the bottle has not been tampered with. Red strips denote federal tax, blue strips are for export, and green strips denote bottled in bond. There is sometimes a state tax paper stamp on the shoulder of the bottle. State tax stamps changed every four years when new state treasurers were appointed. The use of tax strips over the cap began after the Bottled in Bond Act in 1897. It was a green decorative strip that showed the public that the whiskey within the bottle was 100 proof, bottled by one distiller in one distilling season and was at least 4 years old. (not to mention paid its taxes on its...

What is “Mountain Dew”?

What is “Mountain Dew”?

Did you know that “Mountain Dew” soda was invented by two brothers in Tennessee to be a chaser for whiskey? Here’s a great story for you.. http://vinepair.com/win…/mountain-dew-extreme-whiskey-mixer/