From Jack to Maker's: A Spirited Look at a Journey Along the American Whiskey Trail

Buoyed by both a burgeoning craft cocktail culture and increased demand from abroad, the American whiskey industry is at an all-time high. Far from becoming faceless conglomerates, however, the whiskey distilleries of the South retain their rich character, time honored traditions, and dedication to making spirits that reflect the American way of life. To help promote and celebrate these enterprises, many of them entwined with the history of their hometowns.

The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) created the American Whiskey Trail, an entertaining and educational journey into the cultural heritage of spirits in the U.S. We recently had the opportunity to travel on part of the Trail in Tennessee and Kentucky, visiting some of the country’s most iconic distilleries and sampling their products along the way.

American whiskey is big business. In 2013 over 18 million nine-liter cases of bourbon and Tennessee whiskey were sold in the United States, generating over $2.4 billion in revenue for distillers. Over the past five years, high-end premium and super-premium brands have driven much of the category's growth. In all, premium revenues have gone up 31 percent and super-premium 104 percent. Of course high-end spirits are perfect for sipping neat, but mixologists have also increasingly used them to make marvelous versions of classics like the Manhattan and Mint Julep. As part of the Whiskey Trail, DISCUS has also overseen the restoration of George Washington's distillery at Mount Vernon.

Jared Paul Stern

Jared Paul Stern, JustLuxe's Editor-at-Large, is the Executive Editor of Maxim magazine and has written for the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, the New York Times' T magazine, GQ, WWD, Vogue, New York magazine, Details, Hamptons magazine, Playboy, BlackBook, the New York Post, Man of the World, and Bergdorf Goodman magazine among others. The founding editor of the Page Six magazine, he has al...(Read More)

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