By Frederick N. Rasmussen, (The Baltimore Sun, 2/26/2011)
…During rye whiskey’s golden age, connoisseurs across the land instantly associated Wight’s Sherbrook, Old Reserve, Ryebrook, Mount Vernon, Sherwood Pure Rye, Hunter’s — “First Over the Bars” — and Pikesville Rye, to name only a few that were once distilled here, with Maryland.
The distilling of rye whiskey in America goes back to the 1700s, when farmers who had planted rye and wheat as cover crops over tobacco-ravaged land found it was easier and more profitable to distill rather than ship the surplus grain.
George Washington’s overseer at Mount Vernon, John Anderson, urged him to turn his surplus rye into whiskey and established a distillery on the grounds. The formula was simple: rye grain, malted barley and Indian corn.
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