Whiskey: An Appalachian Tradition

Johnson City Public Library staff member Kyle Johnson will be giving a presentation on whiskey as a staple of Appalachian tradition November 8 at 6:00 PM in the Jones Meeting Room, located in the Johnson City Public Library. Starting with Greek alchemy and the basics of distillation, he will discuss the origin of uisge-beatha (whiskey) from its humble beginnings in Scotland and Ireland, on into its subsistence on the Appalachian frontier, to its billion dollar industry of today.

The number of whiskey distilleries across the country has grown significantly over the past decade, and interest in the history and culture of whiskey has matched pace. Johnson says he has been interested in the historical and cultural significance of whiskey since he studied Appalachian history and culture in college. “Whiskey is at the crossroads of culture, politics, and chemistry. Of course, a lot of people think of whiskey as a Scots-Irish tradition, but here in Appalachia there was a significant contribution from German immigrants.” Johnson continues, “These days people frequently think of Appalachian whiskey as a hillbilly thing, but there is so much more to it–there’s an important and overlooked historical aspect to whiskey, and I want to be sure people know about that!”

He will also answer the most frequently asked questions regarding whiskey; such as the differences between Bourbon, Scotch, and Irish whiskies, what constitutes moonshine, the best glassware for consumption, and more. Those in attendance will be entered to win a gift basket of various merchandise courtesy of the great folks at the Tennessee Hills Distillery!

For more information about Whiskey: An Appalachian Tradition or other events and services of the Johnson City Public Library, call 423-434-4450, or continue to explore our new website here at www.jcpl.org

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