10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Whiskey

10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Whiskey

Whiskey is just a general word used to describe a spirit made from a distilled grain that’s been matured in oak. The term derives originally from the Gaelic ‘uisge beatha’, or ‘usquebaugh,’ meaning ‘water of life;” also known as aqua vite in Latin. Early distilling techniques were brought to Ireland and Scotland sometime between 1100 and 1300 by monks, when it was first used as an anesthetic and external antibiotic. Because wine was not easily obtained in Ireland and Scotland, they distilled barley beer into liquor through a slow and somewhat tedious process; and thus, whiskey was born!

Today, the spirit is much easier to distill and distribute, and Scottish whisky is among the most popular; in fact, 90% of the Scotch Whisky made in Scotland is exported to other countries.

Now on to the good stuff – here are a few more fun facts about whiskey!

  1. The United States consumes more whiskey than any other country in the world.
  2. Whiskey is the number two most consumed spirit in the world, behind vodka.
  3. The United States is the number two producer of whiskey in the world, just behind Scotland.
  4. Jack Daniels is the number one whiskey producer in the world, selling over 24 million gallons a year to 135 different countries.
    • The company has a 77-gallon storage warehouse, which equals out to a whopping 1.7 million barrels!
    • They make 1,000 barrels on average per day, which is 240,000 bottles per day.
  5. There are approximately 240 bottles in a barrel. The older the barrel, the less it yields, because of the evaporation through the barrel. This is called the “angel’s share.” Conversely, what is leftover in the barrel is sometimes referred to as the “devil’s share.”
  6. Each whiskey barrel weights approximately 500 lbs – probably not something you want to be lifting too often.
  7. The best selling premium whiskey in the world is Knob Creek.
  8. Guess how many shots of the spirit are sold in Lynchburg, Tennessee (home of the Jack Daniels distillery)? ZERO – Lynchburg is a dry county! Instead, they sell “commemorative” Jack Daniels bottles that happen to full of whiskey.
  9. At the time of his death, George Washington was the largest producer of whiskey in the United States! He had opened his own distillery in 1797 just three miles from his Virginia estate, and by 1799 it was producing 11,000 gallons of whiskey; a new record for the 18th century.   
  10. In 1987, Bookers was the first premium whiskey to sell that broke the $50 price point. It was named after 7th generation Booker Beam.