The Whiskey Rebellion

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The history of whiskey dates back centuries.  It is often said that this distillation process was started amongst Christian monks in both Ireland and Scotland during the 11th and 13th centuries.  The practice became privatized when King Henry VIII removed all of the monasteries in Scotland.  This left the monks without an income, so they started private distilleries and rye grain services that spread across the country.  The process continued to grow and expanded across the ocean, leading to both the Scottish and American whiskey rebellions.

 

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Scottish Whisky Rebellion

All was going well for the private whisky distilleries in Scotland, until the Scottish and English crowns merged into one in the early 18th century.  This merger of the crowns imposed high taxes on all unlicensed alcohol breweries.  The harsh taxes caused thousands of secret distilleries to crop up across the country producing contraband whisky.  These taxes were put on the rye grain companies as well as the production of the product, making it a heavy burden.  From the rye grain supplier to the distributor, the laws and taxation crippled each leg of the industry.  The demand for whisky remained, but due to the government taxation it was impossible for distilleries to stay financially afloat.  Throughout these 150 years of taxation, smuggling whisky became an art form.  The smoke coming from the figure distilleries would cause questions from the authorities, so whisky production was changed to a nighttime activity to help camouflage the smoke.  This nighttime practice of whisky making in the moonlight gave the beverage a new name:  moonshine.   

 

American Whiskey Rebellion

Just a few years after the American Revolution of 1783, the US government repeated the history laid out by the Scottish and English governments.  They issued hefty taxes on quality grain services, production, and the sale of the whiskey, thereby initiating the American Whiskey Rebellion.  High quality grain suppliers were once again dealt a terrific financial blow.  To make matters worse, the Prohibition from 1920-1933 made distilleries illegal overnight.  Production was limited strictly to that of religious wines and whiskey for medicinal causes.  This illegalization of whiskey led to it being smuggled across the country which initiated the formation of an underground movement for making and transporting the beverage.

Today, the whiskey distilleries stand strong.  Harsh taxes on ingredients and production have disappeared, making it possible for whiskey distilleries to succeed in their business.  Whiskey is a favorite contemporary alcoholic beverage from the US to throughout Europe and beyond, and the modern rye grain company can once again flourish.  From the rye grain supplier to the distillery, the whiskey making process is continually being perfected in efficiency and quality in order to keep up with popular demand. 

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