My brother brought us some Jack Daniels today, and it got all of us thinking. Why are whiskeys often names of men, such as Jim Beam, Jack Daniels and Johnny Walker? Any others?
Stranger yet, I wonder why they seem to start with "J."
Jim Beam Bourbon was named after Jim (James Beauregard) Beam, the great-grandson of Johannes "Jacob" Beam, founder Old Tub Distillery in 1795. Old Tub brand eventually became Colonel James B. Beam, then Jim Beam Bourbon.
Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey was named after Jasper Newton "Jack" Daniel, the founder of Jack Daniel Distillery in 1866 (Jack Daniel's website) or 1875 (Wikipedia).
Johnnie Walker Scotch Whisky was named after John Walker, a Scottish grocer who began selling whiskies from his grocery in 1820, including his own brand, Walker’s Kilmarnock Whisky.
Old Crow was named after Scottish immigrant, Dr. James Crow. Crow is generally credited with creating the sour mash process in the 1830s.
American Still Life: The Jim Beam Story and the Making of the World's # 1 Bourbon, by F. Paul Pacult, 2003
Beam and Hart--"Old Tub" Distillery
Jim Beam (Wikipedia)
Jack Daniel's (Website)
Jack Daniel's (Wikipedia}
The Complete Book of Spirits: A Guide to Their History, Production, and Enjoyment by Anthony Dias Blue, 2004
John (Johnnie) Walker (grocer) (Wikipedia)
Johnnie Walker (Wikipedia)
Old Crow (Wikipedia)
James C. Crow (Wikipedia)
What is Sour Mash?
Jim and Jack are both descendants ultimately of Hebrew ya`akobh 'Jacob'. Jim (or sometimes earlier Jem) from James < Spanish Jaime (other forms of the name in Spanish are Diego < Santiago, i.e., Sant + Iago, Iago; Italian Giacomo; French Jacques). A john can either be a toilet or a prostitute's customer. In the 16th century a jakes (punned on as Ajax) was an outhouse. In English Jack (though from Jacob) is sometimes the form of a nickname of John. Then we have Jock whence jock strap for a type of underwear known euphemistically as an athletic supporter. John Thomas is also a name for the membrum virile.
It does not seem to me such a stretch that some American whiskies are known by the name of the founder of their respective distilleries. After all, the Irish have their Jameson Irish Whiskey (and even Guinness stout in the beer brewery business). Old Bushmills, on the other hand, comes from the placename where the distillery was located. Names have always been a separate, but fascinating, part of lexicography. Oftentimes the pronunciation of proper nouns is even less obvious from their spelling than common nouns in English orthography, hence pronouncing gazetteers.
—Ceci n'est pas un seing.
So whose name is "Ole Peculier?" It's ale, not whikey, but still a fun name.
It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -J. Krishnamurti
The stretch, for me, is that other liquors aren't named after those who developed them.
I did mention the first two, and they are named after the place of origin and the founder of the distillery respectively. Chartreuse is named after the monks who originally made the liqueur.
—Ceci n'est pas un seing.