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...

Mash Bills in America

Did you know that mash bills are really only used in American whiskey production? American distilleries refer to the proportions of grains used as their “mash bill”. There are quite a few distinct styles of traditional American Whiskeys. Pennsylvania style ryes traditionally carry over 80% rye in their mash bills. Traditional Maryland style ryes are closer to 60% rye, balancing the mash bill with corn and a small amount of malted barley. (George Washington’s original rye whiskey from Mt. Vernon was 60% rye, 35% corn and 5% malted barley.) Bourbon, called “America’a spirit”, is at least 51% corn and is flavored with either rye or wheat grains and a small amount of malted barley. Corn whiskey is at least 80% corn, usually more. These traditional mash bills grew...