Have you ever opened a bottle of Cuervo or Captain and wondered to yourself what it would be like to have your own liquor named after you? If you’re like us, these types of thoughts take up roughly 85% of your brain capacity on a regular basis.
And while you’ll probably never know what it’s like to have your own whiskey label, at least you can hear stories of the great men who took your dream and made it their reality… then offered their alcoholic services as consolation for your sad, pitiful existence. Oh, sweet irony.
Before ripping through underclassmen’s wallets and livers, Captain Morgan was famous for ripping through people’s land, looting and ravaging as he pleased. As a feared privateer and Welsh pirate, the Captain partook in countless illegal adventures, like plundering the Cuban coast, capturing Spanish travelers and holding for ransom the entire city of Portobelo, Panama. Rather than face imprisonment or death for his many crimes, Captain Morgan was knighted and became the lieutenant governor of Jamaica. It’s a shame such a manly man received such a girly drink in his honor…
Tequila might make for a more interesting night than spiced rum, but Jose Cuervo’s story is vanilla compared to Captain Morgan’s hot fudge sundae. After receiving a land grant in 1758, Jose Antonio de Cuervo started an agave farm in Jalisco, Mexico. Using the agave to make the popular Mexican liquor Mescal, the Cuervo family turned a quick profit. Soon thereafter, the family was given the first-ever license to legally make and distribute bottled tequila. And college girls have been taking their tops off in gratitude ever since…
By his mid-teens, Jasper Newton “Jack” Daniels was an accomplished distiller of whiskey in Lynchburg, Tennessee. That’s right. While you were stuck in calculus class at age 18, Jack Daniels was brewing his own hooch and making millions off of it. But JD’s love for distilling was matched equally by his temper, which often got him in trouble. One day, after arriving at work early, Daniels couldn’t open his safe, so he decided to open it with his foot. One ferocious kick to the strongbox later and the pioneer of Tennessee whiskey had an injured toe that eventually got infected and led to his death by blood poisoning.
Charles Tanqueray came from three generations of clergymen. So, what did the heir to the cloth do with his life instead? He made and sold alcohol, of course! Amen. Tanqueray began distilling gin in 1830 and distributing it to colonies throughout the British Empire in 1847. Among his most loyal consumers were plantation owners. Apparently they enjoyed the cool, refreshing taste of gin as they worked tirelessly in the sun, bossing slaves around all day.
When you think of bourbon, you think of Jim Beam – or Colonel James Beauregard Beam, as he was affectionately known by the people he killed in war. But unbeknownst to many, Jim Beam bourbon was originally called Old Tub until after Prohibition ended. See, Old Tub had been distilled and distributed from 1788 until the government shut down distilleries across America.
In 1933, when Prohibition was repealed, Jimmy Beam reopened shop under the name Old Tub, but also offered a special blend of bourbon with his name on the bottle instead. The rest is history…