The History of Bourbon

For as long as people have walked on two legs, there’s been alcohol. Historians and archeologists of all kinds have discovered concrete evidence of fermented grain, corn and rice within the depths of different caves and ancient dwellings. Basically…man’s primary goal of advancement and self worth are only outmatched by their intent on getting wasted.

Unfortunately, the history of bourbon isn’t as set in stone. The origins are muddied and full of urban legends. Unlike many other fantastic creations, we don’t exactly know the inventor and why they invented it. We will say that many stories of bourbon often overlap with the stories of whiskey.  This shouldn’t be a huge surprise due to the fermentation process of both drinks being extremely similar in nature.  And the fact that every bourbon is a whiskey.  So without further ado…here is a rough and not entirely accurate depiction of bourbon’s history.

It all started with a Baptist Minister named Elijah Craig. Though his credit is not 100 percent confirmed, it is widely believed that this man was the founder and forefather of bourbon whiskey. (There’s even a brand named after him.) This is because he claimed to be the first to actually age the product in charred oak casks. This process gives bourbon the red color and distinctive taste. Unfortunately this story has some major plot holes and historical inaccuracies.


The likely answer to bourbon’s origins is that there is no single inventor or founder. This is because the process incredibly refined.