The word “whiskey” comes from the Gaelic word ‘uisge’, short for ‘uisge beatha’ meaning “water of life”. Whiskey was originally used medicinally as both an internal and an external antibiotic.
Distilling techniques were brought to Ireland and Scotland between 1100 and 1300 by monks. The manufacturing of distilled spirits was limited to apothecaries and monasteries until the late 15th century. Whiskey then made its way to North America with Irish and Scottish immigrants and has since become popular across the globe. With an interesting history, the plague of The Great French Wine Blight in 1880 destroyed a vast majority of French vineyards, causing a substantial decrease in wine production and an increase in the demand for whisky. Later, during the World Wars, working distilleries were reduced from 150 in 1900 to only 15 in 1933 due in part to the lengthy time needed to distill whisky. The supply and demand of the spirit became a guessing game. and in the 1980s, vodka and white rum became popular, adding to the dilemma.
Today, 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. A comeback of grand proportions.