The Science And History Of Fermentation: A Critical Part Of Distillation

Palmetto Distillery Whiskey

Since the beginning of time, man has used fermentation in creating food and drink for consumption. The process of fermentation is all about microbes, and they are found EVERYWHERE on this planet. Your soil, home, food, and even your bodies contain a host of microorganisms that perform delicate processes to ensure your environment's stability. We are thankful for the revelation of these chemical processes, for they make crafting the glasses of Palmetto whiskey and moonshine you hold in your hand possible to sip and enjoy. Let's take a look at the incredible science of fermentation and its role in our evolution for nearly thousands of years.

Origins of fermentation

Although the exact roots of the fermentation process are unknown, scientists and archaeologists have found evidence of this chemical reaction being used to prepare food and drink dating back nearly 10,000 years. The term 'fermentation' literally means "to boil," which is likely describing what happens when yeast converts liquid into wine, beer, or fermented liquid used for pickling and cooking.

How did it all start, anyway?

Perhaps due to a happy accident that transpired when a wayward wild microbe landed in a bowl of food, a jug of juice, or in a container of freshly milled grain that stood at just the right temperature and environment, those who found the solution were likely over the moon---after the hangover---at the potential that existed for its use and application. Techniques likely evolved for working with microbes across the globe in ways that would preserve and protect food and drink supply, and different variations morphed and changed according to people's needs and tastes. We are eternally grateful for these pickling pioneers, those who were willing to taste, tweak, and tantalize taste buds to find just the right combinations and chemical processes needed for those beverages and foods we love today. Let's dive into a little bit of the science for you closet geeks and take a look at the magical chemical reactions that give us our favored spirits.

Science of fermentation

During fermentation, yeast is married with a "food" such as dairy products, fruit, or grains, where microbes present in the yeast consume their food in an anaerobic environment. In the case of whiskey, a malt solution containing sprouted grain and water is boiled to release simple sugars present in the grain, and the microbes go to town, producing a by-product of alcohol. Yeast can survive in this anaerobic environment until the alcoholic concentration reaches 12-15 percent. The chemical reactions stop after the yeast have been eliminated, so distillation---or removal of additional water to make the percentage of alcohol concentration higher--is needed to create the higher-proof whiskeys and moonshines that we favor in our neck of the woods.

Palmetto Distillery: Your choice for premier spirits

Palmetto Distillery whiskey crafters are very precise when it comes to our distillation process.. We are steadfastly loyal to the bootlegging ancestors that came before us, and we see no reason to change a method that works to bring the taste and flavor of the South to your decanter that you've come to expect from our organization. We may not have the original copper still in which the first magic was brewed, but we went to the trouble of crafting an exact replica of this historic still that started our incredible journey. We know all aspects of distilling inside and out, and we can bring the delicious goods to your doorstep anytime, anywhere. For smooth amber whiskey and mouth-watering flavors of moonshine that are sure to be the toast of your next gathering, visit