Maysville Kentucky Blog

The Maysville Kentucky Blog is your guide to the beautiful and historic small town of Maysville Kentucky, snuggled into the rolling hills along the Ohio River. Though this blog has been discontinued, you can get your Maysville Kentucky fix over at Ken Downing's Mason County Kentucky Blog @

Comments: A Baptist Minister Invented Bourbon


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Jeremy said...

Most of my Dad's side of the family is Southern Baptist, so I know all the old jokes : )

3:40 PM
Ron L. said...

There is an old joke that the one thing that Baptists do better than all other EAT. Now we know there was something else Baptists did better than the other churches years ago. :)

8:10 AM

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The Post:

A Baptist Minister Invented Bourbon

Since we were talking about the Pogue Distillery yesterday, and since Pogue is famous for its bourbon -- in fact, all of Kentucky is famous for its bourbon whiskey -- I thought I'd tell the ironic story of how a Baptist minister invented bourbon.

In the frontier woodlands that was Kentucky during the late 1700s, cash and coin was rare and bartering was a common method of doing business. Many ministers were paid tithes in grain, which became a lot of grain. It became more than any church could consume and therefore many of the ministers went into the distillery business. One of these ministers, Elijah Craig, ran a small distillery in what was then called Bourbon County. Elijah Craig was notoriously cheap. One day he had an idea to burn out the insides of the oak barrels he aged his whiskey in so that he could get more use out of them. He quickly found that people seemed to like the flavor imparted by the burnt barrels better than the regular oak aged whiskey, and thus bourbon whiskey was born.

The ironic part is that Baptists later became the champions of the temperance movement and Bourbon County, now called Scott County (just a few counties over from us), has a large Baptist population. The birthplace of bourbon whiskey is today dry as a bone. Although technically a dry county, legend has it that several casks of Elijah Craig's original bourbon were placed inside the columns of the administration building of the equally Baptist Georgetown College (which Craig had founded).

See also: How Bourbon Got It's Name from our March 2006 issue.