At the same time that Maker’s Mark has discovered that it is not wise to “mess with bourbon drinkers” – referring to their decision to not water their bourbon down to increase inventories – University Press of Kentucky has released “Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey: An American Heritage.”
Historian and author Michael Veach explores the history of – and growing passion for – the spirit that has come to be irrevocably associated with Kentucky. And as recent as the Maker’s Mark statement is, its sentiment has been well known since the Revolutionary War.
While distilling equipment was brought from Europe to the colonies and rum and gin were made along the East Coast, whiskey gained its popularity with the westward expansion. Local ingredients were able to be used and it became so much in demand that coppersmiths began manufacturing the distilling equipment in Kentucky. The area was perfect for production due to the water that had lost its flavor-tainting deposits after being filtered through the native limestone. That, plus the weather – and the now famous method of storing the spirit in charred oak barrels – was a recipe for success.