Country Music's Top Five Drinks & A Little History..
Updated: Dec 24, 2022
In the 11th century a group of students in Northern Italy/Southern Germany wrote a litany of poems satirizing the Catholic Church. The result was the "Carmina Burana" a vagabond collection of irreverent musings from the young clergy. Scholars feel the collection was indicative of the counter reformation movement slowly emerging within the church.
The collection of poems is often referred to as the first songs where alcohol consumption was mentioned. And well, it is fair to say that the flood gates were opened! Moving forward ten centuries later, it's fair to say there has always been a connection between country music, and liquid refreshments.
In 1960, the first country song to chart high with a reference to drinking in its title was "Here I Am Drunk Again" originally recorded by Clyde Beavers. It peaked at 13 on the Billboard Country charts, and was also recorded by Webb Pierce, and Moe Bandy.
And according to a 2017 report from Addictions.com,we also lead the pack in the most drug references in our songs..sigh.. There is a sort of partnership between country music, and alcohol, I think mostly due to two social conditions present early in American history.
The first as far as I can surmise is the culture of making home brews in Appalachia. Moonshining was very much a vocation handed down from generation to generation. And a source of pride, and income. But it's important to note, that in the very early days before aspirin, and cough syrup, moonshine was the active ingredient in most household remedies. In other words the making of moonshine was a way to take care of your family.
It is generally accepted that the folk music of Appalachia is widely credited as one of the progenitors of country music. Once you make that connection, it is easy to see why alcohol, and country music is closely aligned almost like a cultural artifact of the past.
The second social condition that probably linked drinking, and country music forever were the honky tonks, and dive bars. Fans of country music would go to their local bar to hear their favorites on the jukebox or to see them perform live. Often, the artist would earn a percentage of liquor sales. It's reasonable to believe that drinking was encouraged in order to create more revenues.
But I don't believe it was completely about making money. I feel the Appalachian tradition of listening to music, and enjoying a home made beverage with people you care about, and new friends transitioned to the honky tonks on a broader scale. Music, and drinks have a way of creating an instant bond between people like very few things can.
Moving forward, I thought it might be fun to explore what the most popular beverages are in country music. We looked at how many times the beverages were mentioned in the country music media, in songs, mentioned by the artists, but our members did have the final say. Also, it was interesting to find out how many artists have their own brands too.
I don't think there are any surprises on this list, but we do hope the historical information shared will make you look smart next time you get a little sawdust on those boots..
1. Jack Daniels Whiskey
Country fans have enjoyed Old No. 7 for over a century now.
But even more fascinating is the origins of this phenomenal whiskey. As the story goes, a slave by the name of Nathan Green taught a poor orphan by the name of Jack Daniels how to make the whiskey. At the time, they both worked for the same distillery.
It has since been the most mentioned whiskey brand in country music.
Check out the complete story below.
South of the border in Jalisco, MX we find the second most popular beverage in country music. It is rumored that the name descends from the Teton volcano because it resembled a small breast which is Teta in Spanish.. I can't make this stuff up y'all. The drink is loved so much that several country artists have their own Tequila brands like George Strait's Codigo 1530.
Here's one of my favorite Tequila songs..
3. Jim Beam
"Old Tub" as it was known before Prohibition, is one of the world's best selling bourbons in the world, and made right in Claremont, KY. Jacob Bean started making the product as a way to use the corn, and barley on his property. He had so much of it that it would wither and die off. Probably a contributing factor to the popularity of Jim Beam is that they have not changed the mash in over a hundred years! However, they do run small batch bourbons through their Booker's brand.
There are currently more aging bourbon barrels in Kentucky than there are people! On an average, it takes about 9 years for the bourbon to age. The biggest difference between whiskey, and Bourbon whiskey is the percentage of corn in the mash. Also, the type of barrels the bourbon is aged in. There is an entire infrastructure centered around the Bourbon experience.
Check out this video to help plan out your trip!
With the most expensive bottle of Vodka bringing in 3.75 Million, this Eastern European export is a favorite among country fans that like Screw Drivers, and other fruity drinks. Even my all-time favorite honky tonk legend Lefty Frizzell preferred the lighter than water drink over others to his peril.
Lefty would not take his heart medication because he was concerned it would interfere with his alcohol consumption.
Apparently, some folks just have to have their Vodka any way they can. Rebecca Creek Distillery sells a Vodka flavored chapstick to keep those lips hydrated while sipping, and two-stepping. I also hear Blake Shelton's Vodka brand Smithworks tastes especially good in a Lemon Drop Martini..
Possibly one of the best country lyrics referencing Vodka:
" I lost her between the vodka and gin and the beer and champagne.."
Before mankind started leaving chicken scratches on cave walls, we were drinking beer! That's right, and the first evidence we have of it being in existence is circa 3500 BC. In the Middle Ages it was part of the daily diet, and even today, believe it or not, Amsterdam substitutes soda with low alcohol beer to students.. Beer was serious business in early Europe. When Neils Bohr won the Nobel Prize in 1922 in Physics, he was given a pipeline to the Carlsberg Brewery Company with free beer for life!
Like Moonshine, Beer was primarily made at home as a communal activity. Hops was not an original ingredient, and was added by larger breweries as a preservative. An extremely interesting fact, The Guinness Book of World Records was created by the Dublin based Guinness Brewery as a way to settle pub disputes..
Beer is still the most popular alcoholic drink in the world! Over 298M beers are consumed worldwide. Here in the U.S. over