- American Whiskey Trail
The American Whiskey Trail is a cultural heritage and tourism initiative of the
Distilled Spirits Councilin cooperation with historic Mount Vernon. It provides an educational journey into the history and cultural heritage of distilled spirits in the United States.
Whiskeyand other distilled spirits, such as rum, played an important role in both the American colonies and in the new American federal union. As early as 1657, a rum distillerywas operating in Boston. It was highly successful and within a generation the production of rum became colonial New England's largest and most prosperous industry.
When the British blockade prevented the importation of
sugarand 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 Kentuckyand Ohiohad 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 Rebellionin 1794, put down with federal troops ordered in by President Washington. After serving as president, George Washingtonbecame probably the new federal union's largest whiskey distiller. [ [http://www.discus.org/heritage/washington.asp George Washington’s Distillery] ]
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.
The American Whiskey Trail consists of historical sites and operating distilleries open to the public:
George WashingtonDistillery Museum, in Mount Vernon, Virginia
* Fraunces Tavern Museum, in
Manhattan, New York
Gadsby's Tavern Museum, in Alexandria, Virginia
* Woodville Plantation, in
* Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey, in
* West Overton Museums, in
* Oliver Miller Homestead, in
South Park, Pennsylvania
Operating whiskey distilleries open to the public:
Jim Beam, in Clermont, Kentucky
Maker's Mark, in Loretto, Kentucky
* Wild Turkey, in
Woodford Reserve, in Versailles, Kentucky
George Dickel, in Tullahoma, Tennessee
Jack Daniel's, in Lynchburg, Tennessee
Also included are two rum distilleries:
Bacardi, in Catano, Puerto Rico
* Cruzan, in
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
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). [cite news |first= Scott |last= Vogel |author= Scott Vogel |title= Driven to Drink in Kentucky |work=Washington Post |publisher=The Washington Post |location= Travel |pages=2 |page= P1 |date= September 28, 2008 ]
*Barr, A. "Drink: A Social History of America". New York: Carroll & Graf, 1999.
*Grimes, William. "Straight Up or On the Rocks: A Cultural History of American Drink". New York: Simon & Schuster, 1993.
*Lender, Mark E., and Martin, James K. "Drinking in America: A History". New York: The Free Press, 1982.
*Popham, Robert E. The Social History of the Tavern. In: Israel, Yedy, "er al". (eds.) "Research Advances in Alcohol and Drug Problems". New York: Plenum, 1978. Volume 4. Pp. 255-302.
*Rorabaugh, William J. "The Alcoholic Republic: An American Tradition". New York: Oxford University Press, 1979.
*Rorabaugh, William J. Alcohol in America. "Magazine of History", 1991, "6", 17-19.
*Roueche, Berton. "The Neutral Spirit: A Portrait of Alcohol". Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1960.
* [http://www.discus.org/trail/ American Whiskey Trail]
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