Sundays at Two to offer a figurative shot of whiskey

Allison Burns

The Lancaster Community Library’s 23rd annual Sundays at Two lecture and entertainment series will open January 14 at the library, 16 Town Centre Drive, Kilmarnock.

Allison Burns will present “Crafting America’s Whiskey Tradition.” The director of sales at Wigle Whiskey, a leading craft distillery in Pittsburgh, Burns will explore how America’s whiskey roots are crafting the new frontier of American distilling.

Time will be provided for questions, after which coffee and cookies will be served.

America’s Whiskey Tradition began before the American Revolution when molasses imports from Britain became too expensive to produce rum, reported committee chairman Gloria Wallace.  And, importantly, whiskey could be produced from home-grown grains—with the added benefit of no British ties.

In the 1700s, whiskey production moved westward, settling in such places as Pittsburgh, Pa. For 150 years, Pittsburgh was the Whiskey Capital of America, producing the gold standard of pre-prohibition American whiskey—Monongahela rye. At the height of whiskey-21making in Western Pennsylvania, there were 4,000 documented stills. All of this precious whiskey caused quite a stir in the 1790s when the first excise tax in American history was introduced on whiskey, causing a series of events to unfold—better known as the Whiskey Rebellion.

America’s complicated and colorful past with whiskey continued through the 1800s until turning sour, making prohibition a reality.

Today, there is a new generation of American whiskey frontiersmen in the form of the current craft spirits movement. According to Market Watch, in 2003 there were around 60 craft distilleries compared to 2016 with a total of 760 and over 200 in construction. The craft spirits movement focuses on sustainable practices and reinventing the way Americans look and taste their whiskey, said Wallace.


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