Some of our ancestors might have accidently produced whiskey out of their beers!
Beer is technically a term for “Whiskey wash” – regardless of the raw ingredients used. Therefore, whiskey is also nick-named as “Distiller’s Beer”. In ca. 800 AD an Arab chemist called Abu Musa Jabir ibn Hayyan was experimenting with distillation to purify beverages that were made via fermentation (i.e. wine, beer). Distilling technology passed from the medieval Arabs to the medieval Europeans, earliest records in Latin are dating early 12th century. European pharmacists used this process of distilling ‘Aqua Vitae’ primarily for medicinal purposes. Even though they might have as well used beer for distilling, it is not recorded in history. ‘Aqua Vitae’ (Latin for ‘water of life’) used to be typically prepared by distilling wine. Therefore it was also called ‘spirits of wine’ in English texts referring to a type of brandy being distilled several times. The knowledge of distillation spread to Ireland and Scotland in the 15th century.
Due to the fact that whiskey is distilled from beer, either with or without usage of hops many micro-breweries stepped into the whiskey business.