Warren Bobrow brought this article to my attention recently. It’s a good bit of knowledge, and I learned a little myself seeing as how I’ve had a couple of arguments over the true history and place of origin of some of our favorite spirits. Here’s the introduction, click below to read the entire article.
“We got in a fight over Tennessee…” – Johnny Cash
Bourbon, Tennessee Whiskey & Rye
Born in the USA Whiskies
Among the first settlers who brought their whiskey making traditions to the US were the Scotch-Irish of Western
Pennsylvania. Although whiskey was produced throughout the colonies (George Washington was among the
noted whiskey producers of the time), these settlers of Pennsylvania are where bourbon’s roots began. To help
finance the revolution, the Continental Congress put a tax on whiskey production. So incensed were the settlers of
Western Pennsylvania that they refused to pay. To restore order in the ensuing “Whiskey Rebellion” of 1791,
Washington was forced to send the army to quell the uprising. To avoid further troubles with the tough and
stubborn Scotch-Irish settlers, Washington made a settlement with them, giving incentives for those who would
move to Kentucky. The significance of this is that while the earliest whiskies were made primarily from rye, this
was about to change with their move and “Bourbon” would be born.