Bourbon History


bourbon history

Patent Warehouses With Barrel Racks

When you look at Sanborn Insurance Maps from the pre-Prohibition era, you often see a distillery warehouses labeled as “Patent Warehouse”. These are warehouses with barrel racks. In 1879, Frederick Stitzel patented the system of barrel racks we see in... Continue Reading →

How Railroads Made The Modern Distilling Industry

When I started working at the Stitzel-Weller Distillery, I crossed a railroad track every day going into the distillery. This track had a spur leading up to the distillery building. It was no longer in use, but had been in... Continue Reading →

From My Archive – 1936 Cocktails

I was filing my backlog of papers and I found an interesting article from a 1936 Spirits magazine on the popularity of cocktails served in hotel bars. The Manhattan cocktail replaced the Martini as America’s most popular cocktail in that... Continue Reading →

Paducah, Kentucky – Restoring Its Bourbon Heritage

Before Prohibition, Paducah, Kentucky was an important Bourbon town. Isaac Wolfe Bernheim and his brother Bernard started their business in Paducah. Dreyfuss and Weil had a distillery in Paducah. Early Times was being distributed by Friedman, Keller & Co. in... Continue Reading →

The Golden Age Of American Whiskey

I am often asked as to when I think was the “Golden Age” for American whiskey. My general thought is that there is no such thing as a “Golden Age”.  Every era has made both excellent whiskeys, as well as... Continue Reading →

Prohibition Speakeasies

There is a romanticized image of Prohibition era speakeasies in the modern world. There are many bars that call themselves “speakeasies” in most every major city in the United States and even overseas, where speakeasies were not found in the... Continue Reading →

Image Of The Past – McCormick Distillery Painting

Distilleries like to have images of their distillery hanging in their business offices. Many times it is an old photograph or two, but sometimes distilleries commission artists to paint an image of their distillery. These paintings are often “cleaned up”... Continue Reading →

Rectifiers In The 19th Century

I was recently asked if rectifiers deserved the bad reputation they had in the 19th century. The answer is “yes and no”. There were rectifiers that simply purchased whiskey from distilleries and married the barrels to make their own flavor... Continue Reading →

Archiving Distilling History

Things have changed over the last two centuries. It is easier to document the history of the distilling industry in the twenty-first century than it was in the twentieth century. It is not that the records were not kept from... Continue Reading →

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