name in 1960 and began marketing Four
Roses as a lower-tier whiskey while the dis-
tillery’s real bourbon was sent to Asia and
Europe. Now owned by Japanese company
Kirin Brewing, Four Roses (the good stuff)
became available in the U.S. again in 2002
thanks to Master Distiller Jim Rutledge
who has overseen production since 1995.
Knob Creek is named after a creek near
the distillery and was created to reflect
the style of pre-Prohibition bourbon. The
bottle is shaped like a flask and covered in
newspaper, like bootleggers used to do.
Distilled in the honor of the legendary
John E. Fitzgerald of Old Fitzgerald Bour-
bon fame; this lawless bonded treasury
agent used his special keys to gain access to
the best barrels in storage warehouses.
Dating back to 1753, Michter’s was Ameri-
ca’s first distilling company, established by
rye farmer John Shenk in Schaefferstown,
PA. It’s said their rye whiskey was a favorite
of General George Washington during the
for small batch and single barrel bourbons,
in addition to its legendary rye and a
new sour mash.
Old Fitzgerald was first produced in 1870,
but only for rail and steamship lines and
select private clubs. It was released to the
public around 1900. During Prohibition,
the brand continued production as one of
the few medicinal alcohols. It was acquired
by Pappy Van Winkle for $10,000 who
changed the recipe, replacing rye with a
“whisper of wheat.” Now part of Heaven Hill.
First bottled 1870 by a former
pharmaceutical salesman named George
Garvin Brown, who later founded the
Brown-Forman Corporation. It has the
distinction of being continuously on
the market longer than any other brand
of bourbon.
Named after bourbon legend Julian “Pap-
py” Van Winkle Sr., who began his career
as a liquor salesman for W.L. Weller &
Sons in 1893. In 1910 he acquired the
A. Ph. Stitzel Distillery which became
Stitzel-Weller around Prohibition. The
Old Rip Van Winkle was resurrected by
Julian Van Winkle Jr. after the distillery
sold in 1972.
Distilling began on what is now the
Woodford Reserve Distillery in 1780,
originally established by Elijah Pepper.
In 1878 it became the Labrot & Graham
Distillery. It was sold the Brown-Forman
Corporation in 1941, eventually ceasing to
operate until a major renovation in 1993.
The Woodford Reserve brand launched
in 1996 and has enjoyed double-digit
growth every year, prompting a recent
decision to expand the facility to house
165,000 more barrels.
Kentucky produces 95% of the
world’s bourbon supply, but by
definition it can be produced in
any state.
Though all bourbon must be
aged, there is no minimum
aging requirement; products labeled
straight bourbon whiskey must be
aged at least two years.
Evan Williams was Kentucky’s
first commercial distiller
(1783), but Reverend Elijah Craig
was the first to char the inside of
whiskey barrels (1789), earning him
status as “The Father of Bourbon.”
Before Prohibition there were
over 2,000 distilleries in
Kentucky; now there are fewer
than 20.
In 2012, one million barrels
of bourbon were produced in
Kentucky, the highest number since
1973 when vodka sales surpassed
In 1964, congress declared
bourbon the official distilled
spirit of the United States.
things you
might not know
about bourbon
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