Bushy Run Battlefield hosts whiskey distilling program
Thirty years before farmers and distillers in Western Pennsylvania rebelled against an unpopular federal tax on their cash product — whiskey — British and colonial troops defeated a force of Native Americans at the Battle of Bushy Run in August 1763, in what is now Penn Township.
Fast forward some 256 years, and the Bushy Run Battlefield Heritage Society is sponsoring a program on distilling whiskey, to be held at 7 p.m. Sept. 18 at the battlefield along Route 993. Scottdale native Aaron Hollis, manager of learning and guest experience of West Overton Village in East Huntingdon, will present the interactive program.
West Overton Village is in the early stages of distilling rye whiskey, which is the product the village started making in the early 1800s. The village grew around a whiskey distillery that industrialized during the 1800s. Other distilleries across the region were established in the 19th century, creating an industry that was destroyed by Prohibition in 1919. Hollis is expected to talk about West Overton’s new educational whiskey distillery and discuss how Western Pennsylvania became the center of whiskey making in the early days of the nation.
“The production of whiskey has had an enormous impact on the history of the United States and especially the history of Western Pennsylvania,” says Scott Perry, Bushy Run heritage group board member. “The importance of whiskey cannot be understated, and West Overton Village and its associated businesses were at the forefront of production in Western Pennsylvania until Prohibition.”
Tickets for the presentation, which is part of the History Speaks Series, are $10 in advance or $12 at the door. Bushy Run Battlefield Heritage Society members will receive a 10% discount. To buy tickets or make reservations, call 724-527-5584 or email [email protected]
Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at 724-836-5252, [email protected] or via Twitter .