Should you assume Kentucky was the birthplace of American whiskey, you’re not alone—however you’re additionally not proper. A newly opened initiative known as the Whiskey Rebel Path is targeted on bringing the highlight again to the Mid-Atlantic—from Pennsylvania to Washington, D.C.—because the rightful birthplace of whiskey distilling in the USA.
The path, which simply opened to the general public on July 12, at present contains 75 stops and serves as an interactive historical past lesson that brings guests by way of museums, galleries, and among the finest craft distillers within the area to know the spirit’s origins and significance inside American historical past.
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One particular person serving to to steer the cost is Meredith Meyer Grelli, the co-owner of Wigle Whiskey in Pittsburgh—at present probably the most awarded whiskey distillery within the nation.
“We began Wigle [in 2012] as a household enterprise to convey again a regional id to western Pennsylvania,” Grelli tells Males’s Journal. The roots of American whiskey will be traced again centuries to the Monongahela Valley, the place Monongahela rye turned the primary from the U.S. to achieve widespread recognition. “We needed to make nice spirits but in addition convey again this historical past and id—to inform an vital story about American historical past.”
To finish the total path, you’ll must make your approach by way of the 4 main cities concerned within the Whiskey Rebel of 1790—Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington D.C., in addition to many smaller communities and a few bucolic Pennsylvanian countryside. “We’ve tried to create the path in probably the most versatile approach doable,” says Grelli. “A ticket to the grasp path provides you a full yr to expertise all 75 distilleries and museums.”
Don’t wish to decide to the total tour? In addition they have regional passes that concentrate on a smaller geographical space meant to be accomplished in a weekend or in a single day. In every of the 4 cities, you’ll discover a distillery tour that’ll lead you thru the principle whiskey producers within the space, and one tour that even follows a prepare path outdoors of Pittsburgh. “There are passports for individuals who are extra curious about spirits, and a few for individuals who are extra within the historic facet of issues.”
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Professional tip: Don’t low cost the historical past. It stands as the one time in our nation’s previous that a sitting president led troops towards their very own residents. The story begins with Alexander Hamilton. He determined to put the nation’s first excise on whiskey, and the residents reacted in probably the most American approach doable—by punching a federal tax collector within the face. It was Phillip Wigle who threw that punch, inciting 4 years of protests and riots that culminated in President George Washington main 13,000 troops to Pittsburgh to arrest primarily each man on the town.
Courtesy of Washington County Whiskey Rebel Competition
To learn the way the story concludes, get on the tour. “We get to inform all these tales by way of whiskey,” says Grelli. “It’s the primary chapter of American whiskey, and one which solely this Mid-Atlantic area can inform.”
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There’s a lot to look ahead to. As early as subsequent yr, bars, eating places, and inns shall be integrated into the expertise.
“We’re additionally launching our greatest challenge but [at Wigle], tripling the scale of our distillery to supply extra interactive experiences,” she provides. Beginning this fall, you’ll actually have the ability to work together with the historical past of whiskey of western Pennsylvania at our distillery.”