This history of bourbon explores how the shift from home distillers to commercial producers changed the culture and landscape of nineteenth-century Kentucky.
As one of the commonwealth's signature industries, bourbon distilling has influenced the landscape and heritage of the region for more than two centuries. Blending several topics—tax revenue, railroads, the mechanics of brewing, geography, landscapes, and architecture—this primer and geographical guide presents a detailed history of Kentucky's distilling industry.
Nineteenth-century distilling changed from an artisanal craft practiced by farmers and millers to a large-scale mechanized industry that practiced increasingly refined production techniques. Based on extensive archival research that includes private paper collections, newspapers, and period documents, this work places the distilling process in its environmental, geographical, and historical context.
Bourbon's Backroads reveals the places where bourbon's heritage was made—from old and new distilleries, storage warehouses, railroad yards, and factories where copper fermenting vessels are made—and why the industry continues to thrive.