Pennsylvania was the birthplace of American whiskey. It all began here with the settling of eastern European farmers in the 17th century. They planted their rye seeds in Pennsylvania’s rocky soils and distilled any surplus grain into whiskey. This normal, agricultural practice of distilling spread west and eventually south, evolving with the farming communities and the grains they grew. It was patriotic, after the British began to tax rum, to drink the whiskey that you could make with your own crops on your own land (rum was made from molasses or cane sugar traded from the Caribbean). Rye grew in PA, so we became rye whiskey drinkers. Corn grew better further south, and small amounts of corn were added to the rye whiskeys distilled in Maryland until becoming mostly corn in Virginia (later the state of Kentucky in 1792). It was traded like currency and prized when it was excellent. Our nation was founded on whiskey, built with its revenue, and constructed upon its infrastructure- and it all began here.
Learn all about how the Keystone State of Pennsylvania was home to the greatest whiskeys ever made in this country. Learn how it lost its role as a major whiskey producer and which distilleries carried the Pennsylvania whiskey torch into the 20th century. Where did all the brands go? What happened to all those distillers? And now that Pennsylvania, over the course of the last 7 years, has established the 5th largest number of distilleries (more than Kentucky) in the country, what happens now?
The four most knowledgeable experts on the history of whiskey making in Pennsylvania will be sharing their stories, historic information, and their appreciation of rye whiskey with guests.
Stick around and ask questions after the discussion!