The Early Years of Whiskeymaking

Believe it or not, the history of making bourbon in Kentucky isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.


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Many theories have been developed over the years to suggest who really invented one of Kentucky’s most distinctive products. But what is the real story?


One of the University Press of Kentucky’s very own authors, Henry Crowgey, asked himself the same question when he wrote Kentucky Bourbon: The Early Years of Whiskeymaking.

Kentucky Bourbon by Henry Crowgey

This book tells the story of bourbon’s evolution by looking at a variety of subjects: from the role of alcohol in colonial America and in the lives of frontiersmen to the importance of the Kentucky product in the Revolutionary War.

Crowgey claims that distilled spirits and pioneer settlement went hand in hand; Isaac Shelby, the state’s first governor, was among Kentucky’s pioneer distillers. Crowgey traces the drink’s history from its beginnings as a cottage industry to steam-based commercial operations in the period just before the Civil War.

Image via Google

Image via Google

From “spirited” camp meetings, to bourbon’s use as a medium of exchange for goods and services, to the industry’s coming of age in the mid-nineteenth century, the story of Kentucky bourbon is a fascinating chapter in the state’s early history.

This book would be the perfect gift for any history or—dare we say—bourbon buffs out there. Check out our website for details on the book!

If Crowgey’s fascinating read got you in the mood for more bourbon knowledge, check out the History Channel’s documentary on “The Birth of Bourbon” at the link!



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