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A Boozy History Lesson on the New Whiskey Rebellion Trail

If 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 Rebellion Trail is targeted on bringing the highlight again to the Mid-Atlantic—from Pennsylvania to Washington, D.C.—as the rightful birthplace of whiskey distilling in the United States.

The path, which simply opened to the public on July 12, at the moment consists of 75 stops and serves as an interactive historical past lesson that brings guests via museums, galleries, and a few of the greatest craft distillers in the area to know the spirit’s origins and significance inside American historical past.

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One individual serving to to guide the cost is Meredith Meyer Grelli, the co-owner of Wigle Whiskey in Pittsburgh—at the moment the most awarded whiskey distillery in the nation.

“We started Wigle [in 2012] as a family business to bring back a regional identity to western Pennsylvania,” Grelli tells Men’s Journal. The roots of American whiskey will be traced again centuries to the Monongahela Valley, the place Monongahela rye grew to become the first from the U.S. to achieve widespread recognition. “We wanted to make great spirits but also bring back this history and identity—to tell an important story about American history.”

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To full the full path, you’ll have to make your means via the 4 main cities concerned in the Whiskey Rebellion 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 trail in the most flexible way possible,” says Grelli. “A ticket to the master path gives you a full year to experience all 75 distilleries and museums.”

Don’t wish to decide to the full tour? They even have regional passes that focus on a smaller geographical space supposed 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 essential whiskey producers in the space, and one tour that even follows a prepare path outdoors of Pittsburgh. “There are passports for those who are more interested in spirits, and some for those who are more interested in the historical side of things.”

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Pro tip: Don’t low cost the historical past. It stands as the solely time in our nation’s previous that a sitting president led troops in opposition to 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 the most American means attainable—by punching a federal tax collector in 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 basically each man on the town.

Washington County Whiskey Rebellion FestivalCourtesy of Washington County Whiskey Rebellion Festival

To learn the way the story concludes, get on the tour. “We get to tell all these stories through whiskey,” says Grelli. “It’s the first chapter of American whiskey, and one that only this Mid-Atlantic region can tell.”

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There’s a lot to look ahead to. As early as subsequent yr, bars, eating places, and inns can be integrated into the expertise.

“We’re also launching our biggest project yet [at Wigle], tripling the size of our distillery to provide more interactive experiences,” she provides. Starting this fall, you’ll actually be capable to work together with the historical past of whiskey of western Pennsylvania at our distillery.”

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