Saturday, February 21, 2009
Photo by Hane C. Lee
If there’s anything I enjoy as much as food, it’s booze, in particular, bourbon. Originating in the 1800s in what is now Kentucky, bourbon was declared by the U.S. Congress in 1964 a “distinctive product of the United States”—the same way Scotch whiskey is distinctive of Scotland or champagne is distinctive of Champagne, France. Not only does it have to be made from at least 51% corn and aged for at least 2 years in new, charred oak barrels (which gives the liquor its unique taste and lovely amber color), but it also has to be distilled within these United States to be classified as bourbon, making it about the most American spirit you can sip.
While bourbon is now made commercially in a dozen different states from New York to Colorado, to gain a true appreciation for our nation’s spiritual heritage, Kentucky is the place to be. And if you ever get the chance to tour bourbon country, an essential first stop is the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History in Bardstown, bourbon capital of the world.
Glencoe Distillery personnel
Getz was a Chicago businessman who cofounded Barton Brands, a whiskey broker, after the end of Prohibition in 1933. The following decade, Barton bought the Tom Moore distillery in Bardstown, and Getz started amassing historic whiskey artifacts and memorabilia. Originally housed in his own office at the distillery, his collection was donated by his wife to Bardstown to establish the museum after his death in 1983. The museum now resides at Spaulding Hall, built circa 1826 as a college and seminary and subsequently used as a Civil War hospital, an orphanage, and a boys’ prep school.
This poster is Prohibition propaganda, but to me, the graphic looks like "Sad World + Booze = Happy World."
Even during the dark days of Prohibition, there were ways around the law. These labels specify that the contents within were to be used for medicinal purposes only.
The medical marijuana of its time
I'm not sure how long this was on the market:
For the exceptionally lazy bartender
This has nothing to do with booze, but Spalding Hall also houses the Bardstown Historical Museum. Check out this Civil War–era front page:
Editing nerds like me will note the hyphen and period!