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  1. #11
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    Re: Distilling Wall of Fame

    Mike said, "...Hamilton on the other hand, well I just can not bring myself to honor the man who gave us the tax on bourbon. I would be more inclined to honor Thomas Jefferson who repealed Hamilton's tax."

    Now Mike, shame on you for letting your politics interfere with your history! The importance of a person or event isn't determined by whether you like or agree with them. Hamilton's federalism (let's remember, these were the right-wingers, <u>Jefferson</u> was the Democrat!) effectively ended the dominance of the Pennsyvania and Maryland rye-makers and sent the cream of the crop packing for Kentucky (and Ontario as well, I believe).

    "... As far as the myth about the whiskey rebellion making the distillers leave Pennsylvania for Kentucky, don't believe it. There were plenty of distillers here before the whiskey rebellion."

    Sure, and in Tennessee as well. And Maryland, Virginia, the Carolinas, and lots of places where there aren't any commercial distilleries anymore. Everywhere that grain was grown and milled there were distilleries. They were hardly a significant industry, though. Two things had to happen in order for that to occur. One was that the industry had to include among its more successful members a number of powerful individuals with political leanings, such as those who considered themselves veterans of the rebellion. Once these have become prominent local and state leaders, both the legitimacy and the importance of the industry can be ensured. That's why Kentucky survived Prohibition and Tennessee didn't -- because Kentucky's leaders were proud to be involved with the whiskey business while Tennessee's leaders were ashamed and wanted no part of it.

    And, of course, the other needed condition was the utter destruction of what would have been the competition had it been allowed to develop in the region where it was already established and making a world-wide reputation. The rye whiskey industry didn't completely die out in Pennsylvania, of course; rye-whiskey was being made there quite successfully all the way up to, and even after, Prohibition. But by that time the bourbon-makers of Kentucky had had a chance to show the world what this wonderful liquor was and what they could do with it, and that was really all it took.

    I feel we already have enough plaques that merely list honorable individuals who we'd like to offer to the world as models to aspire to. As a matter of history, I feel you should elevate your criteria and re-think your position about Hamilton's importance to the Kentucky bourbon industry.

    =John=
    http://w3.one.net/~jeffelle/whiskey

  2. #12
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    Re: Distilling Wall of Fame

    I hope this doesn't seem like "let's all jump on poor Mike" week. Really, I love ya, man. But I've gotta say..

    Give 'im Hell, Bettye Jo!! You go, girl! And tell your aunt Jo Beam to whack 'im one next time he shows up at the museum, too!

    How anyone can seriously put together a Wall-of-Fame commemorating the most important figures in Kentucky bourbon and not sprinkle it heavily with Beams is completely beyond me.

    (P.S. - I sure hope you realize that the scolding here is feigned and in good nature; sometimes that gets missed in the printed words. But, well, you asked for it!)

    =John=
    http://w3.one.net/~jeffelle/whiskey

  3. #13
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    Re: Distilling Wall of Fame

    John,
    I think you are over estimating the importance of the rebellion to Kentucky's distilling heritage. As a matter of fact I would be hard placed to name one distiller that can be traced to Pennsylvania that left for Kentucky because of the rebellion. There were several who came to Kentucky at that time but this had more to do with the fact that Kentucky had just became a state and it was suddenly easier to purchase land in Kentucky.

    The fact is there was very little impact on the distillers in Pennsylvania. The government for all of its efforts arrested very few people and only two people were ever convicted and they were both pardoned by President Washington. These two were described as one being "a simpleton" and the other "insane". My favorite quote from the rebelion comes from Thomas Jefferson who said that "an insurrection was announced and proclaimed and armed against, but could never be found" (Ford, Jefferson, VII, May 26, 1795). There were farmer distillers in Kentucky at the same time as the rebellion and they too refused to pay their taxes. The rebellion in Kentucky was just as "bad" as it was in Pennsylvania but the government refused to let this become common knowledge at the time because they did not think they could do anything about it. They could not get an army the size that they used in Pennsylvania over the mountains and they were afraid that if they did, The independent minded westerners would simply leave the union and be driven into the arms of Spain. So when you think about it the whole myth about the whisky rebellion does not make sense. Why would distillers leave Pennsylvania over the rebellion to come to Kentucky when Kentuckians were forced to pay the same tax and conditions politically were the same.

    I will give Hamilton this much credit for distilling history. The tax was based upon proof to be measured using a hydrometer so it did force distillers to learn to use a hydrometer.

    Mike Veach


  4. #14
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    Re: Distilling Wall of Fame

    Boone,
    I knew I could depend upon you for this name. Even if you failed to send me some of these names I would have gotten them from Jo. Good work!!
    Mike Veach


  5. #15
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    Re: Distilling Wall of Fame

    John,
    I don't feel like I am being "jumped on". As a matter of fact Boone's reply was what I was looking for in replies at this site. I am trying to give you all a chance to put some imput into this list and to judge what you think is important as a "Wall of Fame" catagory. Even if Jacob Beam does not make it the first year (that is not going to be for me to decide one way or another if I have my way), I am sure he will be there before too many years pass. What I am trying to do is get a good complete list together with the candidates qualifications so that some type of commitee can decide who will be the final six for the first year. You can bet on the fact that people on this list will still be candidates in the following years.

    Mike Veach


  6. #16
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Sep 1999
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    Re: Distilling Wall of Fame

    I think Elmer would be embarassed to be put ahead of people like Julian VanWinkle and any number of Beams. Bill Jr., likewise, should be embarassed by receiving recognition he doesn't deserve, but I don't think he is capable of that particular emotion.

    Just as a matter of policy, I wouldn't put anyone now alive up there the first year, or maybe ever. This is especially appropriate since this is being done by a museum. It might be different if this were a project of the KDA or DISCUS.

    Among the Beams, I would have to say Joe Beam is the most significant, for the reasons Boone mentioned. He and his sons virtually were the distilling industry in the early 20th century.

    And has anyone yet mentioned Jack Daniel? Or George Dickel?

    Aneas Coffey is a good suggestion.

    --Chuck Cowdery

  7. #17
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    Re: Distilling Wall of Fame

    Chuck,
    You may be right. Maybe live people should not be on the list at all. Uour other points are also well taken. My plans right now is to make a list of possibilities. The final decision will be made later. (I even put Hamilton on the list for consideration. I do love a good historical debate and John has been arguing his facts fairly well.)
    Mike Veach


  8. #18
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Distilling Wall of Fame

    Here's another name to consider: John Bernard Wathen, who ran his family's distillery business from 1863 until a few years before his death in 1919. He and his brothers were responsible for building Old Grand-Dad into a major brand and his sons established the American Medicinal Spirits Company, one of the foundations of National Distillers.

    --Chuck Cowdery

  9. #19
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    Re: Distilling Wall of Fame

    Good pick Chuck! I second that nomination.

    Linn Spencer

    Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

  10. #20
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    Re: Distilling Wall of Fame

    Chuck,
    A very good suggestion. A Wathen should be on the list as well as a Beam but can you think of a Dant or a Medley that really sticks out as deserving. I am sure there are some, but they just don't pop out at me right now.
    Mike Veach


 

 

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