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A Brief History of Spirits in America

Distilled spirits have been a huge part of American History. From George Washington, The explorers headed west exploring new frontiers, and even used as currency for trade with other nations.


The original
American Spirit?

Rum was in fact the first spirit produced in quantity in America. Starting in the mid-1600s sugar and molasses were imported goods and colonists in New England made the first variations of rum in America.

A little-known fact is that England did not only levy unfair taxes on tea but also on sugar and molasses that were not imported into America by the crown. Unlike tea, the colonists would never have thrown good liquor into Boson Harbor. The tax was in fact a reminder to the colonies where their loyalties should lay, and that was with England. How did we cope with all of these levies from England? It was very simple, we ignored them.


In the mid-1700s, New England rum was used in lieu of currency in trade with Africa and the West Indies.

Rum continued to be big business in America through 1808 until the importation of slaves from Africa was banned. By this time, whiskey was well on its way to becoming the native spirit of America.

Whiskey in America

While the origins of Whiskey can be traced back to monks in Ireland and Scotland produced by monks in Medieval Times. American Whiskey, with imported concepts, is a product unto itself.

American Whiskey's roots started as an un-aged spirit produced by the first colonists in America. Over the years, whiskey has developed into a complex distinctive range of products. From Bourbons and Ryes, to Tennessee whiskey that is now sought after and savored by connoisseurs all over the world. While America whiskey is fairly new to the world compared to Scotch and Irish Whiskey, American whiskey has had an impact on the development of our Nation.

Whiskey-making was one of the first industries in America and was also the cause of George Washington gathering troops for the first time in American history. In fact, it was George Washington himself who first suggested that public distilleries be constructed throughout the states as he was concerned his troops didn't have enough liquor available to them. Whiskey was also carried by pioneers traveling west to explore our country. Whiskey was even a part of contention during the Civil War, and in part a reason why General Grant never saw a third term as our president. Whiskey was the primary driving factor behind prohibition, and has played a part in every major war this nation has seen.

Bourbon is such a part of American culture, Congress recognized Bourbon as a distinctive product of America in 1964. While straight rye and Tennessee whiskey have not had this honor bestowed upon them, they are as much a part of culture and bourbon.


In the spirit of Eastern Europe and Western Russia, our brandy is crafted in the same fashion as it has been made in these small towns for ages.

The people of these small towns would ferment locally sourced fruits at their homes and periodically, a still truck would go through the towns and distill the spirits for the villagers.


We have adopted this method of making brandy, and using the finest fruits available, we ferment the fruit itself to make our brandy. Most other fruited brandies use fruit flavor to create their spirits, and unlike moonshine which just adds fruit to their finished corn liquor, we preserve the true flavor of the fruit from fermentation all the way through distillation so you are tasting the true fruit, and not just artificial flavor.


The rise of vodka in America has everything and nothing to do with Russia. Vodka was first sold in the U.S. in Bethel, Connecticut in 1934, and imported vodka from Russia did not hit shelves until the 1970s. All of the vodka cocktails we enjoy today were in fact, invented in Hollywood bars and New York hotels. These cocktails were also generally unheard of in Russia.

After Prohibition alcohol consumption was on the rise, but Americans were partial to whiskey. A man by the name of Rudolph Kunett opened the first commercial vodka distillery in America in 1934. This distillery failed but was bought out and rebranded.

John G. Martin purchased the failing vodka distillery based on pure instinct but struck gold. Heublein Inc., the company that Martin was president of, began marketing his vodka as “white whiskey,” a drink with no color, smell, or taste. This made it a perfect mixer for cocktails and intrigued consumers began snapping up vodka to mix with everything from milk to Coca-Cola. A bar on Los Angeles’s Sunset Strip started to mix the liquor with ginger beer and a splash of lime in 1946, creating the wildly popular Moscow Mule. The cocktail had nothing to do with Russia, but its name endowed the drink with a glamour that Hollywood socialites, and soon the rest of the U.S., couldn’t resist.

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