It’s often said that whiskey is the water of life. In Irish it’s known as “uisce beatha”. It’s a combination of the word “uisce” (water) and bethu (life). In Scottish it’s known as “uisge beatha”.
The American Whiskey Trail says in Gaelic “uisge-baugh” is pronounced [WEEZ-ga-bochh]. They say if you say the word quickly enough — or with a substantial quantity of whiskey in your system — it becomes, with a little shortening, “WEEZ-ga,” a word that was Anglicized to become simply “whiskey”.
One of the most critical components in the whiskey making process is in fact the water. If you look at photos of old distilleries, you’ll see they are often located on a river, lake or pond so there is an ample supply of water for the distillation process. Or, there may be a hidden spring or underground aquifer that can provide plenty of clean limestone rich water for distillation.
Historically, water towers or elevated water tanks have played a key role at distilleries around the world. They offer a large source for hundreds to thousands of gallons of pressurized water driven by gravity. The water may be used for distilling, cooling, proofing or heaven forbid firefighting. In today’s modern world most distilleries are not dependent upon an onsite water source but on city water provided by their local municipality.
To recognize these historic landmarks we’ve gathered together a photo gallery of distilleries from all around. Click on any image to find its location. Even in today’s world of GPS wayfinding I think you’ll find these sky high landmarks very helpful in locating the source of your favorite distilled spirits.
Know of a Water Tower We’re Missing?
If you know of another water tower we are missing, send it to us and we’ll add to the distillery water tower collection. You can send it to us from our ‘Contact Us’ form here or email it to Info@DistilleryTrail.com Cheers!
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How to Say Whiskey in Irish Gaelic
Still need some help in how to say uisge-baugh in your best Gaelic accent. Here are two examples that will have you speaking Gaelic in no time. Good luck!