When the British blockade prevented the importation of sugar and molasses, and thereby disrupted the production of rum, a substitute was sought to meet the demand for spirits in general and for provisions for the Rebel Army in particular. It was found in whiskey.
Even before the war of independence, whiskey had become the preferred way to use surplus grains in the frontier settlements west of the Appalachian Mountains. The expansion of a corn belt in Kentucky and Ohio had created a corn glut. There were no roads in the region and most transportation was by packhorse. It cost more to transport corn or grain than it could bring on the eastern markets, so farmers distilled it into "liquid assets" that could easily be shipped or bartered. Practically every farmer made whiskey and it became a medium of exchange. (See the History of Bourbon Whiskey article).
A tax on whiskey led to the first test of federal power, the Whiskey Rebellion in 1794, put down with federal troops ordered in by President Washington. After serving as president, George Washington became probably the new federal union's largest whiskey distiller.
By 1810, there were at least 2,000 distillers producing more than 1.76 million gallons of whiskey. Annual absolute alcohol consumption (including wine, beer, etc.) may have been as high as 8 gallons per person, a level over four times the current rate.
Operating whiskey distilleries open to the public:
Also included are two rum distilleries:
Sites along the American Whiskey Trail can be visited in any order or sequence desired.
A related trail, The Kentucky Bourbon Trail is a patchwork of paths that lead to eight well-known Bourbon distilleries in Kentucky: Buffalo Trace (Frankfort, the oldest continually operating distillery in the United States), Four Roses (Lawrenceburg), Heaven Hill (Bardstown), Jim Beam (Clermont), Maker's Mark (Loretto), Tom Moore (Bardstown, producer of the 1792 brand), Wild Turkey (Lawrenceburg), and Woodford Reserve (Versailles).
Whiskey on the move; American whiskey adds fans and moves drinks as the industry discovers the draw of ultra-premium offerings.
Sep 01, 2008; The sleek World Bar on Manhattan's East Side caters to an international clientele, many straight from the United Nations...
DISTILLED SPIRITS COUNCIL OF U.S. TO HOST AMERICAN SPIRITS PROMOTIONS IN CHINA, RUSSIA AND CZECH REPUBLIC; INDIAN MEDIA WILL VISIT AMERICAN WHISKEY TRAIL.
Mar 29, 2010; WASHINGTON -- The following information was released by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States: The Distilled Spirits...