History of Alcohol Distillation

Distilling alcoholic beverages from fermentation of natural resources has been documented throughout human history. The raw materials vary by region and range from fruits and plants to grains. The Chinese culture has documented the making of rice wine as far back as 800 B.C. East India produced Arrack from a sugarcane and rice mixture. Liquor was first distilled from a mixture of honey and fermented grapes. Liquor produced from grain mashes was first documented in the Middle Ages. Liquor was originally used for medicinal purposes due to the antimicrobial properties of ethanol. However, the high concentration of alcohol in distilled liquor made it very appealing as a social beverage. Demand for these liquors has always given it a high economic value. The first documented government oversight of distilled alcohol occurred in London during the 17th century. Parliament passed legislation that taxed liquor sales and restricted the purchase quantity in an effort to discourage the population’s consumption.

The liquors we are most familiar with today were being distilled thousands of years ago.

Brandy was first distilled in Italy in the 1000’s


Whisky has its origin in Ireland and Scotland during the 1500’s


Vodka has its beginning in Russia in the 1400’s


Rum is produced in the America’s in the 1500’s


Gin originates in Holland in the 1300’s


Tequila has been distilled in Mexico since the 1500’s