Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Elijah Craig was the keystone of Bourbon

I was reading the blog of much respected, Chuck Cowdrey, who claims that Elijah Craig was not the founding father of Bourbon and this, my friends is very untrue.  Nothing could be further from the truth, in fact.

Prior to Elijah Craig's invention of bourbon, the prior alcohol of choice was born from the Native American tribe, Plaboians.  They were a small group of Indian, now extinct who migrated from the West to the East back in 1701.  They were an interesting tribe in many ways, however, there was one physical trait that really stood out more than any other; they had sloped foreheads.  This occurance was not natural but as a result of a head brace the was harnaced to a new born's head.

Anyway, the selebate local medicine man, Van Dome Broken Hose, was conjuring up his typical Diptheria drug when he inadvertantly boiled his corn, barley and rye in a covered copper pot.  Condensation began to build up and rise to the top of his teepee.  The next thing Broken Hose knew it was raining on his head.  Looking up with his mouth open, one of the drops managed to fall into his mouth.  And he liked it.  And that's how corn whiskey was born.

Where does Elijah come into play, you ask?  Simple, one day in November of 1787, he meandered upon a drunken Indian tribe and asked what they were imbibing in (thanks to subtitles, Elijah was able to communicate perfectly with the tribesmen) and the medicine man gladly showed him.  Once in control of the master recipe for this new-found concoction, Elijah burned them all alive, took over their 5,000 acre corn, barley and rye fields, and created a distillerator of his own design that he called The Vandome - in loving memory of the ex-master distiller Van Dome Broken Nose.

The rest, I've already mentioned in another post but I will quote myself here as it is a very important turning point to the history of whiskey, specifically Bourbon.  After sitting on this future goldmine for 3 years, Elijah using it only for his family's own consumption, the events to follow ocurred rather randomly.

"Back in 1792, a Catholic Minister and accomplished Whiskey distillerator named Elijah Craig -- who invented the Rick House, Fulling Mill and Paper Mill -- upon realizing that he'd distillated too much corn whiskey, decided to store the leftovers in an empty old sugar barrel. A month later, after having run out of corn whiskey in his house, Elijah Craig decided to tap the sugar barrel he stored in his hay barn.  Upon drawing the corn whiskey from the barrel, he immediately realized that it had turned from clear to a light reddish hue.  Once he tasted it, he knew he was on to something.

"Before too long, Elijah Craig built a house to store these barrels and began selling them to the public at varying levels of "agedness," as he called it - from one month to two years.  He decided to name the house which stored his aging bourbon, after his eldest son Richard. Hence the now famed name, Rick House.


  1. wow...so many things wrong with this story. I'd love to see some supporting documentation...such as diaries, court records, and family documents. And...how those relate to other KNOWN people who were actively making whiskey at the same time. The indian story is cute, but there is no evidence for it. Anywhere. Much of your post runs contrary to known historical documentation. If you want to claim it as fact, you should beef it up with citations and original documents. And cite the sources, too. Archaeology Carl

  2. This is totally ridiculous. Corn Whiskey goes back earlier than this story sites, and whiskey making in Scotland and Ireland much further back than that. It is a very well documented historical fact that Scotch Irish settlers brought distilling technology with them to the American colonies and used the native ingredient, corn, to make whiskey. The Indian story has absolutely no basis in fact. The fact that you call into question Mr. Cowdery when you clearly don't grasp basic history is laughable.

  3. M Lange...If you dare to read the other posts on this blog, I find it's mostly spoof. And attempts to poke fun at folks actually interested in bourbon. I fell for it. As I read the header to his blog, it even says "I love bourbon and this blog will ooze of it much like a fresh squeezed lemon." It's a shame he's taking swipes at nice folks who do good work. probably the last time I'll visit this blog. Archaeology Carl

  4. Arch Carl, there is no swipe by me toward anyone. My blog is nothing more than absolute 100% fact. There is no reason whatsoever for me to lie, fabricate or take swipes at anyone.

    Always remember to believe what your mind will allow you believe as fact when you are totally inebreated.

    Your pal,


  5. Am I the only one that understands the true intent of the author?!


  6. No Lou, you're not.

    But it sure is funny watching bourbon dorks freak-out over it.