The History of Distilling Spirits


Distilling spirits has been around for centuries, and it's a process that has changed and evolved over time. From the first stills created by ancient civilizations to the modern distilleries of today, the history of distilling spirits is an interesting one. In this article, we'll explore the timeline of distilling spirits, from its earliest beginnings to the present day.


Ancient Beginnings

The earliest known record of distilling spirits dates back to around 2000 BC in Mesopotamia, where the Babylonians were distilling a drink called "shekar". This drink was made from fermented grains and was believed to have medicinal properties. By the time of the ancient Greeks, distilling had spread to other parts of the world, and it was used to make perfumes and medicines. It wasn't until the Middle Ages, however, that distilling began to be used to make alcoholic beverages.

The Middle Ages

In the Middle Ages, distilling was used to make a wide variety of alcoholic beverages, including brandy, gin, and whiskey. Distilling was also used to make medicinal tinctures and elixirs. During this time, the first stills were developed, which allowed for more efficient distillation. By the 16th century, distilling had spread to Europe, and the first commercial distilleries were established.


The Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution marked a major turning point in the history of distilling spirits. With the advent of new technologies, distilleries were able to produce spirits on a much larger scale. The first large-scale distilleries were established in Scotland and Ireland, and they quickly spread to other parts of the world. By the 19th century, distilleries were producing a wide variety of spirits, including gin, whiskey, and rum.

The 20th Century

In the 20th century, distilling continued to evolve. New technologies allowed for more efficient distillation processes, and the development of new flavors and styles of spirits. By the end of the century, distilleries were producing a wide variety of spirits, from vodka and gin to whiskey and rum. Distilling had also spread to other parts of the world, including the United States, where it had become an important part of the culture.

The 21st Century

Today, distilling spirits is a thriving industry, with hundreds of distilleries producing a wide variety of spirits. New technologies have allowed for more efficient distillation processes, and new flavors and styles of spirits have been developed. In addition, craft distilleries have become increasingly popular, with small-batch distilleries producing unique and flavorful spirits. The future of distilling looks bright, and it's likely that the industry will continue to evolve and expand in the years to come.