Tag Archives: domesticated

What was Ameria’s First Whiskey?

As a crop Rye is difficult to harvest, and even more difficult to make into booze. However, the tenacity it displays allows Rye to be planted in late fall, survive harsh winters, and be the first grain ready to harvest in spring.

Corn, Wheat, Barley, and Rice were domesticated by humans between 9,000 – 10,000 years ago. Our ancestors did not cultivate Oats until 4,500 years ago. The last of the cereal grains to be domesticated was Rye: only 2,500 years ago.

Even though it showed up late to the party, Rye made America’s first whiskey. Settlers of New England tried growing wheat & barley, but these crops do not like the poor weather & soil conditions found throughout New England.

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Expiration Date: 10,000 Years Ago

9,000 years ago people in today’s Yangtze Valley, China cultivated wild rice—though perhaps Rice is like the dog of the plant kingdom, in that it practically begged to be domesticated. The plant itself has a remarkable ability to thrive in either dry or flooded fields. In addition, it mass polinates via the wind.

Today, there are over 110,000 varieties of Rice, although only Oryza sativa var. japonica is ever used for making alochol—the oldest of which (made actually 10,000 years ago) is a Rice wine made also with fruit and honey.

Dogfish Head teamed up with molecular biologist Patrick McGovern to re-brew this ancient alcohol in 2006. The result is their Chateau Jiahu—named after the site in China’s Henan Province where the archeological evidence turned up.

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Cornstalk: America’s Original Sweetener

Whether you like it in your movie theater, in your soda, or in your gas tank Corn is a big deal in America. In fact, has been a popular crop in North America since before Christopher Columbus arrived.

Originally, Central Americans domesticated corn by 8,000 B.C. for the sweet fibers in its stalk, and not actually its kernels. Cornstalk as a source of sweetness would be made obsolete once Sugarcane arrived in the New World.

As you may have guessed, these early corn farmers discovered how to create cornstalk wine.

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Rice-Booze is 8,000 Years Old!

Between 8,000 – 9,000 years ago humans domesticated Rice. While that is no where near as sexy as domesticating wild horses in a western movie, it did pave the way for rice-based booze, which began 8,000 years ago, too!

The uncanny ability of the Rice plant to thrive in both flooded and dry fields gave it a leg up on crops into which early humans would want sink their efforts. While over 110,000 varieties of rice exist, only ‘Oryza sativa var. japonica’ is used for making alcohols like sake and rice wine.

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