Whiskey Is Beer (Sorta)
This is a bit of a generalization, but it’s true that whiskey is made from fermented grain mash, just like beer. If you distill a beer that does not contain hops, you will produce whiskey.
But if you have ever tasted whiskey prior to distilling, you’ll notice it is sour, and doesn’t taste all that like beer. That’s because the fermentation method for beer and whiskey are different, leaving a completely different taste despite a very similar process.
The Top Whiskey Producer is Scotland
Scotland has been the largest producer of whiskey for over a century, despite being manufactured all over the world in places like the USA, Ireland, and even Taiwan. There are over 130 distilleries within Scotland, including the famous Johnnie Walker, Glenfiddich and Glenlivet. The number of whiskey casks outnumbers their population 4:1.
But as we have covered, there are large differences in how whiskey is made, from the aging process to the mash bill. Scotland at one time only produced whiskey only from barley, but now you can find it made with wheat and rye.
Related: Best Whiskey Cocktails for Summer
The age statement for the youngest whiskey used in the mix must be included on the label. There are only five categories of Scotch – single malt Scotch whisky, single grain Scotch whisky, blended malt Scotch whisky, blended grain Scotch whisky, and blended Scotch whisky.
Is it Whiskey or Whisky?
There are two different spellings (whiskey vs whisky) for the spirit and both can be correct. Some believe that the spelling is determined by the region, while others think it has to do with how the alcohol was made.
The E is most commonly included in Ireland and the United States, though US brands Maker’s Mark and Old Forester both do not include it on their labels. Even the regulations in the United States refer to the spirit as whisky. For the most part, everywhere else refers to it as whisky, but only total snobs will correct you.
Here’s a bonus fun fact for you – whiskey is derived from the Gaelic word uisce, which means water.
Just to confuse you further, the plural of whiskey is whiskeys, while whisky becomes whiskies. And a note on Scotch Whisky – You may have heard that whiskey produced in Scotland is generally referred to as Scotch. That’s true if you’re in North America, but in Scotland, it’s just known as “whisky”.