"Kentucky's First Distiller"
Evan Williams was born in Virginia and moved to Kentucky in early adulthood. It was in 1783 that Evan Williams founded the first commercial spirit distillery "K.S.P. #1" in area that was later admitted into the Union in 1792 as the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Williams was appointed to the very first city council as a councilman. Williams was well known for his hospitality and surprised no one by bringing a jug of his whiskey to the first meeting. No one officially acknowledged the beverage but it was reported that Williams left the meeting with an empty jug.
At the next meeting, Councilman Gabriel Johnston demanded that Evan be censured for bringing whiskey and that the bottle be confiscated. Williams agreed to the ploy and then immediately after adjournment, each member, in turn, tasted the whiskey. His distillery was located at 5th and Main in Louisville, where he had many complaints about the smell and slop of the stillage. Despite the complaints from neighbors, since he brought whiskey to every council meetings, he rarely got fined about the distillery.
The council appointed Williams to the important post of Harbor Master of Louisville. The harbor was located at the "Falls of the Ohio River" which was a major port for water traffic. The Falls had a 26 foot drop straight down and was not navigable. Boats were unloaded above the Falls and freight carried overland below that obstacle to be reloaded some 2-1/2 miles downstream for shipment to New Orleans.
Banner photo by Simple Cocktails