History Of Irish Whiskey

"Uisce Beatha"
Production of Irish Whiskey, "Uisce Beatha" meaning "Water of life" in Irish, was prevalent in the 16th century. Elizabeth I was apparently quite fond of it but missed the opportunity to raise extra revenue by placing a tax on distillation. The opportunity was not lost forever as on Christmas day in1661 the then Government introduced a tax of 4 pence on each and every gallon of Whiskey distilled.

By 1785 the tax on whiskey stood at one shilling an tupence the last straw for many was in 1815 when the tax was levied at a crippling six shillings. It was this high tax which drove many to produce there goods illicitly and by the end of the 18th century it is thought that there were some 2000 stills in operation in Ireland. Many of these producing "Poitien" or Poteen which is illicit whiskey. Some of these distillers decided to distil legally and tried to raise the capital to set up larger distilleries of these by far the most successful were the four big Dublin distillers: They were John Power, John Jameson, George Roe and William Jameson.

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