For the first decade of its existence, New Amsterdam was a rough place. Located on the tip of Manhattan Island, it was a haven for pirates and smugglers. Many of the earliest rules and regulations were an attempt to control the unruly citizens of a backwater outpost, but officials proved unable to lay down the law. Intemperate drinking was one of the problems.
In 1640 permission was granted by Willem Kieft, Director of the New Netherland Colony, for liquor to be distilled on Staten Island – in contemporary Dutch: Staaten Eylandt – where what is believed to have been the first commercial distillery in North America was built (today Staten Island is home to the Booze History Museum). [Read more…] about Early Distilling History: Puritan Bibles, Gin & Schnapps