Episode 2: Crackdowns, Control & Very Little Craic
The course of Irish whiskey history forever changed with the passing of the 1661 laws. The immediate delineation between those that were legally allowed to distill and those that weren't led to a parallel above-ground and below-ground distilling industry.
In the years that followed, a continuing series of legislation changes, acts and heavily enforced crackdowns prompted distilling ingenuity and creativity amongst both camps of distillers in Ireland. In this episode of The History of Irish Whiskey, we share some of these new approaches adopted to ensure that distilling could continue, whether legal or not, we discuss the birth of the distillery and the first use of the word "whiskey".
And we examine the circumstances that lead to whiskey becoming more commonplace throughout the island of Ireland as we cover the period from 1661 all the way up until the early 1800s.
What we learn about
- The outlawing of poitin
- The much-maligned first alcohol taxes in Ireland
- The arrival of the excise officer to an unwelcoming country
- The rise of the (now) illicit distiller
- The first static distilleries in Ireland
- The unavoidable tax bills and live-in excise man
- The converting of Ireland to a market town economy
- The centralizing of distillery and spirit production in Cork, Dublin & the midlands
- The first commercialization of whiskey as a business, not a medicinal product
- The focus on maturation and wood for the first time
- The rise in alcohol consumption in Ireland to alarming levels
- The introduction and use of the word "whisk(e)y" for the first time.
- The introduction of the famous 1785 Malt Tax and the rise of pot still whiskey production
- The arrival of the first recgonizable "brand" names to Irish whiskey
It's the beginnings of the idea of a distillery that the excise man can go to some physical place and knock on the door. You need to have a physical place that you go and you say, it's time to pay your excise tax, so we start seeing the roots of whiskey but also distilleries as brick and mortar establishments. - Fionnán O'Connor
Listen to the full episode, add to your favorite podcast player and download a transcript of the episode below (login required)
Why are all episodes not free?
The first episode of our seven-part podcast series is available free to listen to on any device from anywhere. The remaining six episodes of the series will be available on storiesandsips.com to members of the Stories & Sips Whiskey Club, with a new episode released each Friday.
Membership of the Whiskey Club is open to whiskey fans around the world who want to dive deeper into the world of their favorite spirit. The Whiskey Club is and always will be advertising-free with members paying for the running of the Club and choosing the direction we take with content, whiskey releases and events. This allows us do two things – avoid taking any money/sponsorships (and therefore influence) from whiskey companies and just as importantly, it ensures we can pay each and every contributor to storiesandsips.com.
We pay all our writers, tasting notes contributors, cocktail recipe makers, podcast hosts/collaborators as well as the salary of a full time employee (not Barry!) who manages all content, social media, communication and member support.
We believe that free content deprives talented and experienced contributors of their right to be paid for their experience, time and impact and believe in a model where everybody wins. It's our belief that if something is worth listening to, reading or watching, it's worth paying for.
Membership of the Stories & Sips Whiskey Club costs just $20/month with no minimum subscription period and in addition to membership fees supporting our contributors, it gives you access to a growing library of behind-the-scenes distillery videos and events, the chance to participate in exclusive Club whiskey releases, Club cask programs and virtual events with the leading distillers, blenders and makers from the world of Irish whiskey.
You have reached a members-only page of the Stories & Sips Whiskey Club.
If you are already a member, we're delighted you're here and you can log in here to access all areas of your membership.
Not yet a member? Join a growing and engaged community of Irish whiskey fans from across the world and participate in our live and virtual Whiskey Club events as soon as you join and get access to our exclusive Club whiskeys and casks. No long-term contracts. Cancel anytime.