CRAFT by Under My Host® Issue No. 17 Made in America: Part II - Page 114

W W W. C R A F T BY U M H . C O M D A V E P I C K E R E L L A History of the United States Seen Through the Eyes of Rye Whiskey THE RISE AND FALL AND RISE OF RYE From as early as the 12th century, people have been cooking, fermenting, and distilling whatever source of starch or sugar was locally available into beverage alcohol. It is no surprise then, that the American colonists brought with them a taste for beverage alcohol to the new world. During the colonization of the New World, there was a heavy reliance upon bev- erage alcohol since it was frequently a healthier alternative than locally availa- ble water. A number of very small grain distilleries popped up in the interior of the fledgling colonies. Most of these distilleries were actually functioning piec- es of farm equipment. When there was too much grain and it was on the verge of spoiling, distill it. If there was too much snow on the ground for the livestock to forage, run the distillery and feed the livestock the spent grain. If the farmer needed to go to market with their excess grain, there was less volume to haul and a higher profit to be made by distilling the grain and selling whiskey. Oth- erwise, the still was off. Hence, the distilleries were very small and seasonally operated, and they were designed to distill whatever grains the farm produced. The events of December 16, 1773, would forever change American history, cul- ture, and our drinking habits. That was the day the Sons of Liberty, dressed as native Americans, boarded ships in Boston Harbor and threw the tea overboard.