In 1794, farmers and distillers from western Pennsylvania rose up to protest the federal government’s whiskey tax — this revolt is known as the Whiskey Rebellion. Happy Travelers can now visit the heart of Whiskey Rebellion territory and raise a glass to those who led the charge at participating distilleries and drink in some history of the rebellion at museums.
The Whiskey Rebellion website and mobile pass program launch on July 12, 2019. To quench your thirst (see what we did there?), here are just a few of the 70 total stops on the trail.
1. Wigle Whiskey
First stop — Wigle Whiskey — the most awarded craft whiskey distillery in America! From ryes and bourbons to flavored whiskeys, you’ll find your whiskey of choice or maybe even a rum, gin, absinthe, or vodka for a little extra fun. Call in advance to book a barrel tasting or whiskey production tour where you’ll learn the history of the rebellion told from Philip Wigle’s perspective.
2. Senator John Heinz History Center
Next up is the Senator John Heinz History Center, where you can continue your history lesson of all things Pittsburgh and western PA. An affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute, the Heinz History Center preserves 250 years of Pittsburgh history— including set pieces from the iconic Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and George Romero’s director’s chair. Admission included with purchase of pass.
3. Liberty Pole Spirits
During the Whiskey Rebellion, tax opposers would plant Liberty Poles (wooden poles or lances with a “cap of liberty” on top that originated in the Roman era) around the nation. In honor of this proud tradition, Liberty Pole Spirits proudly displays a pole on each whiskey bottle label and as a tribute to the craft. Liberty is just one block from the Whiskey Rebellion Festival held July 11-14.
4. Bradford House Museum
Honor the leader of the Whiskey Rebellion, David Bradford — a successful lawyer, businessman, and Deputy Attorney General of Washington County — with a with a tour of his former home, the Bradford House Museum. Admission to this National Historic Landmark and 18th-century architectural showpiece is free during the Whiskey Rebellion Festival.
5. West Overton Village & Museum
Learn how Old Farm Pure Rye Whiskey was produced back in 1810 with a visit to the West Overton Village & Museum. The site is the birthplace of Pittsburgh’s famed industrialist, Henry Clay Frick, who also happens to be the grandson of Abraham Overholt — the original owner of the prosperous Overholt Whiskey distillery. Today, you can walk through the village’s 18 buildings — including the distillery museum — to see how rye was transformed into the famed whiskey.
6. The Golden Eagle Inn
Next stop at The Pub at the Golden Eagle Inn, where it’s never too early for some Christmas Cheer, a craft cocktail that bourbon, blueberry, blood orange, and cranberry. The Inn, built in 1794 by Dr. John Anderson, was he first brick building built in Bedford and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
7. Thistle Finch Distillery
At Thistle Finch Distillery step back in time with a classic rye whiskey cocktail or enjoy free samples of distinctive, small batch spirits. If you are looking to learn about the history and process of distilling, taking a tour, or you just want to relax with a drink and some quiet conversation this is your spot. The distillery is in the former Walter Schnader Tobacco Warehouse which is on the National Register of Historic Places.
8. Manatawny Still Works
Take a tour of a modern distillery filled with Old World charm and sample the wares at the tasting room of the Manatawny Still Works. Located on the banks of the Manatawny Creek (which means "place we meet to drink" in Lenape), the craft distillery features two Italian stills, four fermenters, and hundreds of barrels filled with aging whiskey, rum, and gin. Or visit their tasting room and shop in Philadelphia for some tasty cocktails, food, and bottles to-go.
9. Blue Bird Distilling
Visit Blue Bird Distilling, an award-winning grain-to-glass distillery where they are happy to mix up a nice cocktail with one of their many whiskeys — including single malt, American wheat, rye, white rye, and four grain bourbon whiskey. It’s worth the trip just to see their amazing still, which was built in Germany and is all copper, ensuring the purest flavors. Or visit their Philadelphia location to try a flight of their crafts spirits or grab a bottle to go.
10. 1675 Spirits
Located along the oldest highway in America, 1675 Spirits is dedicated to picking out the perfect grains at Castle Valley Mill in Bucks County to craft their whiskey and vodka. All ingredients are sourced from within 100 miles of the mill which grinding grains since 1730 using a stone ground mill.
11. Museum of the American Revolution
Pre-dating the Whiskey Rebellion by just a few years, the spirit of rebellion was instilled during the country’s push for independence. Learn about the people who fought and the events that took place during America’s fight for independence at the Museum of the American Revolution. Here you’ll find an impressive collection of objects, works of art, manuscripts, and printed works including the original tent used by George Washington as his command center during the revolution. Admission included with purchase of pass.
Whiskey Rebellion Trail How-To:
Weekender and one-day passes are available for each region of the Whiskey Rebellion Trail. Passes can be purchased at Whiskey Rebellion Trail website and include entrance to the museums, as well as cocktails, flights, and tours at the participating distilleries. Passes range in price from free to $165 for the annual pass. There are 70 spots on the multi-state trail which also includes destinations in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C.
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