This Whiskey Wiki Hopes to ‘Set History Straight’ on the Spirit's American Roots
Maryland-based Sagamore Spirit launched the crowd-sourced site to help include more states in the whiskey conversation.
Kentucky’s booming bourbon industry has made the state a whiskey destination. Jack Daniel’s global popularity has put Tennessee whiskey on the map. And Maryland… well… they make whiskey too, I guess? Actually, turns out Maryland may have more of a whiskey connection than people realize, and if the Baltimore-based distillery Sagamore Spirit has its way, Maryland’s whiskey history may get its chance to shine.
Sagamore has launched Whiskey Wiki, a site that invites anyone with “a story to tell about a notable event in whiskey history” to add it to the archive. The brand says it’s retained a team of historians, and any stories that are deemed valid will be added to the page’s official public timeline. Once there, “others are invited to challenge, support and enhance each posting to help the wiki paint a full and true picture of whiskey history,” the spirit company explains.
Sagamore says it got the idea for the wiki after their research into the history of local whiskey uncovered documents showing that Maryland may have had a substantial whiskey trade before Kentucky was even a state — including “an invoice signed by George Washington for a 40-gallon whiskey delivery to people at work improving the navigability of the Potomac River in 1785.”
“We’re out to set history straight,” Sagamore Spirit President Brian Treacy said in a statement. “While we’re headstrong on reviving Maryland-style rye, what we found inspired us to open this conversation wider. Pennsylvania and New York have a rich whiskey history, too. There’s quite a story out there, now it’s time to share it.”
Okay, sure, as a Maryland-based producer of Maryland-style whiskeys, Sagamore Spirit has a lot of skin in this game. Wikipedia wasn’t launched by a company that is trying to sell people encyclopedias. And the Whiskey Wiki as it stands now certainly has a Maryland bent. (The establishment of the Maryland Distillers Guild in 2015 probably wasn’t one of the more major turning points in whiskey’s history.) Still, if you’re interested in a recap on the history of whiskey, the Whiskey Wiki is an easy-to-navigate timeline — and at the very least, it may help you appreciate that the history of whiskey goes beyond just Kentucky.
Of course, who knows? Maybe one day, if people use it, Whiskey Wiki could even become a comprehensive American whiskey resource… that is, assuming the state of Kentucky doesn’t boycott it.