Bourbon History


whiskey history

Whiskey Taxation, Part Two: The American Civil War And Beyond

In 1861 President Lincoln needed money to pay for troops to put down the rebellion of the Southern States. A whiskey tax was brought back but it was different from the first two periods of taxation discussed in Part One... Continue Reading →

Whiskey Taxation, Part One: Before The American Civil War

Taxation of Whiskey plays an important role in American history. The Nation’s first constitutional crisis was the Whiskey Rebellion. The constitution was only a few years old and, for the States to ratify it, the new government was to take... Continue Reading →

African-Americans And The Bourbon Industry

Researching the African-American involvement in the Bourbon industry before Prohibition is difficult at best. There are not a lot of written sources as enslaved people did not get mentioned much in business documents and if they are mentioned it is... Continue Reading →

William Mida: A Forgotten Hero Of Whiskey

When I first started as an Archivist at United Distillers in the early 1990s, on top of my list of things to do was find historical sources of information on the whiskey trade. Some of the best sources were the... Continue Reading →

Maysville And Paducah: Two Kentucky River Towns Rich With Bourbon History

Maysville and Paducah are two river towns on the Ohio River that are rich in Bourbon History. Both are beginning to use that heritage to attract more tourism and both have some exciting plans on the table. I thought I... Continue Reading →

Is Tennessee Whiskey Bourbon?

Many people ask me how is Tennessee whiskey different from Bourbon? The fact is there are very few differences. Tennessee whiskey is at least 51% corn.  It is distilled at no higher than 160 proof. It is aged in new... Continue Reading →

Doing Business During Prohibition

There was a legal spirits business during prohibition. There were six companies that applied for the license to sell “medicinal alcohol” during the great dry spell of the United States. These six companies were: American Medicinal Spirits, which later became... Continue Reading →

Steamboats And Bourbon

I received my contract to take the Bourbon Cruise on the American Queen the other day and Rosemary and I are excited to be doing this trip. We will be spending the Fourth of July on the American Queen and... Continue Reading →

Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery No.5 TN

Charlie Nelson contacted me many years ago about finding out about his family’s involvement in the distilling industry before prohibition shut them down in 1910. He had heard how his family came over from Germany in the mid 19th century... Continue Reading →

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