Neat or on the rocks, we’ll raise a glass to American whiskey any day, and apparently, we’re not alone! The last decade has seen more distillers across the country make whiskey than ever before. While there were just 204 distillers in the U.S. in 2010, just five years later there were 1,100! To celebrate the American whiskey movement, we’ve put together some fun facts about whiskey’s unique history. Check it out!
- Back in the day, American whiskey was usually safer to drink than water, and was essentially the first national beverage. Unlike rum, wine, gin and brandy—which were all being imported and taxed—whiskey was an all-American product, made in America from American grains.
- From the pre-American Revolution days until just after the Civil War, whiskey consumption reached its peak—an average of 7 gallons per person per year! For reference, that’s 3 times higher than what it is today.
- Thomas Jefferson and George Washington both made whiskey on their homesteads.
- The earliest known records of distilling whiskey in America date back to 1640. Most of today’s top distilleries/brands were founded by the mid 1800s.
- Evan Williams opened the first commercial distillery in 1783, beginning the history of Bourbon Whiskey.
- In 1964 Congress recognized Bourbon Whiskey as “a distinctive product of the U.S.A.”
- Today, American whiskey is the fastest growing liquor category, and is made commercially in every U.S. state. Even better, the quality and flavors have never been better or more diverse.
- Whiskey is extremely versatile and makes great cocktails like the Old Fashioned, Ward Eight and Hot Buttered Spiced Apple Cider, just to name a few.
Drop by our adult beverage department to find a wide selection of fine American whiskeys sourced from sea to shining sea. If you have any questions, feel free to ask one of our talented wine stewards while you’re there!