Founded in 1783 by Welsh Born Evan Williams, the Evan Williams brand is notable for being Kentucky’s first distiller. Williams moved to the area while it was still officially part of Virginia, in 1780, and became an integral member of the local political scene. He was an early member of the board of trustees of Louisville and later served as Harbor Master for the City (which is located on the Ohio River.
For us, the most important part of Williams’ life history is the discovery that converting excess corn and grain into whiskey would avoid waste. The small distillery he set up on 5th Street in Lousiville has grown exponentially, now bottles labeled Evan Williams are the 2nd most purchased Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey in the United States.
History has been a part of the Evan Williams identity for some time. Searching through the company website recently, I was tickled by the “What Evan Williams did for Bourbon” campaign of the 1970s. Linking the Welshman to other (perhaps more important) inventors, the advertisements employ a really winning method of heritage construction. Can’t help but think a similar approach would be welcome today.
A few more examples of “What Evan Williams did for Bourbon” after the jump.