Whiskey history is amazing. Whiskey (or whisky, depending on where it is distilled) is all the rage. Celebrities like Bob Dylan, and Florida Georgia Line even have their own brands. But this grain liquor has been around a lot longer than any celebrity and it has a fascinating history.
How It All Started
Whiskey history The art of distillation began in Mesopotamia in 2000 BC. In 1000 AD knowledge of the distillation process made it to Scotland and England thanks to travelling monks. These monks brought this precious know-how to the monasteries, where they began to ferment grain mash resulting in the first iterations of what we call whiskey! referred to as the “aqua vitae” or water of life.
By the end of the 15th century, Scotch whisky production was well underway but once King James IV of Scotland dissolved the monasteries, monks began to distill and sell whisky to make a living outside of the holy order.
Colonists and The Scottish
When the first American colonists—many of them Irish and Scottish immigrants—arrived on the shores of Massachusetts and Virginia, they brought “aqua vitae” with them.
In Scotland 1820, John Walker, a Scottish owner of a grocery store, distilled his own whisky and launched one of the most recognizable brands in the world. A few decades later, back in America, Bourbon was defined as separate from whiskey when a distiller named his drink Bourbon whiskey, after the county it was produced in.
Fast forward to 1964, U.S. Congress named Bourbon whiskey America’s official spirit. But despite whiskey’s popularity, interest dipped in the 1970’s as vodka became increasingly popular.
Nowadays, “aqua vitae” has seen a resurgence. It’s so popular again that many tourists travel the American Whiskey Trail to visit American distilleries throughout Kentucky, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and New York. In 2007, the Senate even declared September “National Bourbon Heritage Month.” Whiskey is so sought-after—sales exploded from $252 million to a whopping $3.4 billion in 2017.
Above all, Enjoy your favorite Whiskey or Bourbon at Frankie’s… Cheers!