February 2, 2009

Bourbon: An American Establishment

Unlike so much else in this country, Bourbon is distinctly American. Bourbon's link with American history is one of the reasons I enjoy bourbon as much as I do. I think a brief history of the stuff is in order.

Bourbon was actually born from conflict. During the revolutionary period, the Continental Congress decided it would tax the production of whiskey to help finance the war. Certain settlers and farmers of western Pennsylvania essentially said "no" to this tax, and refused to pay it. These Pennsylvanians protested vehemently and atacked the tax collectors. This insurrection became the Whiskey Rebellion of 1791.

In light of the Rebellion, which became more violent as the months passed, George Washington decided to dispatch the Continental Army to restore order. Order was restored by 1794, however several settlers moved into the then-frontier areas of Kentucky and Tennessee, which were largely outside the control of the Federal government and its taxes. These areas of Kentucky and Tennessee were uniquely suited to corn cultivation. Having an abundance of corn, it was a logical step to use the surplus as the main grain in the settlers' whiskey-making, instead of rye as had been the tradition. Since much of this "corn whiskey" was distilled in Bourbon County, Kentucky, it eventually became known as Bourbon.

Now go pour yourself a glass.


  1. It's about time someone did this.

  2. Looking forward to more posts. Will you be doing some reviews of different bourbons? I like bourbon, but don't know much about the different brands.

  3. Hi Matt,
    Yes, I absolutely plan to review bourbons. You should definitely try a new bourbon every month or so to broaden your appreciation of it. Thanks!