Glass of bourbon neat on an American flag
The World's First Bourbon Was Created Long Ago In The 18th Century
As a uniquely American spirit, it’s no coincidence that bourbon was created in the 1700s, the same century the United States declared its independence from Britain.
Pre Revolutionary War, Caribbean rum was the drink of choice in the colonies, but after the war, the British cut off supplies to the states, leaving Americans to get creative.
Inspired by the whiskey-making techniques of Irish and Scottish immigrants, bourbon was unique for the way it incorporated corn into the spirit's mash.
No one knows who was first made bourbon, but Baptist minister Elijah Craig is often given the honor. By 1783 Evan Williams built the nation’s first whiskey distillery in Kentucky.
The spirit was aided by the Corn Patch and Cabin Rights Act of 1779, which offered 400 acres to anyone who moved to Kentucky and grew corn, centering the spirit in the state.
However, it wasn’t until The Bottled In Bond Act of 1897 that bourbon saw any sort of quality control by giving a stamp of approval to brands using better ingredients.