The word “whiskey” comes from the Gaelic uisge, a Celtic language, a shortened version of uisge beatha meaning “water of life,”. Whiskey was originally used as a medicine, both internal and external antibiotic. Distilling techniques were brought to Ireland and Scotland sometime between 1100 and 1300 by monks. Since the wine was not easily obtained there, barley beer was distilled into a liquor which became whiskey.
The manufacturing of distilled spirits was limited to apothecaries and monasteries until the late 15th century. Whiskey made its way to North America with Irish and Scottish immigrants and has spread across the globe as well. Whisky has gone through many ups and downs over the years. The start where the Great French Wine Blight in 1880, a plague that destroyed the vast majority of French vineyards, caused a big decrease in wine production and therefore increase in the demand for whisky. Then in the World Wars, the reduced working distilleries from around 150 in 1900 to only 15 in 1933. Due to the length of time needed to create whisky the supply and demand became a guessing game. The 1980’s were another trying time for whisky as vodka and white rum were just discovered by the rest of the world and became popular.
Fast forward a few years to 2018, the Scotch Whisky Association reports that 41 bottles of Scotch Whisky are shipped from Scotland to 175 markets around the world each second, totaling over 1.28 billion bottles every year. I would say it certainly regained its popularity!