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 I would be more inclined to honor Thomas Jefferson who repealed Hamilton's tax."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.