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The History and Significance of Indiana Rye Whiskey

It is well known that Indiana is a leading producer of rye whiskey in the United States. As a result of its smooth texture and distinctive flavor profile, Indiana rye whiskey has gained worldwide recognition among whiskey enthusiasts. Since 1941, MGP has produced food ingredient solutions and distilled spirits of the highest quality. A leading player in the industry due to its dedication to making the finest rye whisky, Ross and Squibb is known as Masters Of Rye. 

MGP Distillery

How everything started.

One cannot ignore George Washington, the founding father of the United States, in tracing the roots of Indiana Rye whiskey. At first glance, Washington and Indiana seem distant, but through his revolutionary innovations in whiskey production, Indiana Rye is attributed its historical legacy.

The United States was establishing its identity during the late 18th century, when George Washington recognized the potential for whiskey as a flourishing industry. In pursuit of self-sufficiency for the young nation, Washington sought ways to reduce its economic dependence on imported goods. In pursuit of this vision, he began cultivating rye and producing whiskey.

His Virginia plantation, Mount Vernon, was the site of George Washington's first distillery in 1797. At that time, rye was the main grain cultivated in the area, and Washington considered it a suitable crop for whiskey production. He was committed to quality, and he produced one of the early forms of American Rye whiskey with meticulous attention to detail.

To refine the taste of whiskey, Washington experimented with different grains and fermentation processes in addition to distillation. Through his dedication to excellence, he laid the foundation for the success of American whiskey production, including the Indiana Rye industry that flourishes today.

In the early 19th century, when pioneers and immigrants settled in Indiana in search of fertile land and a new life, they brought with them the knowledge and skills of whiskey making. Having been inspired by Washington's distillery, these settlers discovered Indiana's climate and soil were exceptionally conducive to rye cultivation.

By combining German and Irish distilling traditions with Washington's innovations, Indiana was established as a significant producer of Rye whiskey. The fertile soil and ideal climate of the state provided the necessary conditions for cultivating the distinctive rye grains that contributed to the superior taste and character of Indiana Rye whiskey.

As a result, Indiana Rye whiskey has been a part of American history for hundreds of years, connecting to George Washington's ingenuity and the convergence of diverse traditions in the Midwest. A taste that echoes the revolutionary spirit of America's first president and his vision for a self-sufficient nation, fans of Indiana Rye today are not just savoring a spirit rooted in the fertile soils of the state.

Rolling on the river...

Ohio River at down

Distilleries located along the Ohio River benefit from its easy and affordable transportation channels, allowing whiskey products to be shipped to the East Coast. The Ohio River plays a significant role in Indiana whiskey production. Besides providing a valuable source of water, the river is also a rich source of limestone, contributing to the distinct flavors and characteristics of Indiana whiskeys.

It was along the Ohio River banks in the early 19th century that the town of Lawrenceburg became the center of Indiana whiskey production. As a consequence, a whiskey production center was established at the peak of American whiskey consumption. By the 1840s, Main Street became known as "Whiskey Row" because of the high concentration of whiskey firms.

For whiskey production, fresh water is important. Limestone water from the aqueduct connected to the Ohio River is essential in the whiskey-making process, as it contributes to water purification and public health. In addition to filtering impurities from the water, limestone water also adds minerals, which contribute to the final flavour of the whiskey.

Limestone water sources are not just important for Kentucky and Indiana whiskey production; ancient aqueducts, such as those in Rome, also used limestone water. Large karst springs fed these aqueducts, which resulted in calcium carbonate deposition. Rome's population grew, citizens' quality of life improved, and technology advanced due to limestone water.

MGP: Innovators in Rye Whiskey Production

MGP Logo

The largest producer of rye whiskey in the United States, MGP, based in Lawrenceburg, is one of the key players in Indiana rye whiskey production. With a state-of-the-art distillery and cutting-edge technology, MGP has revolutionized the production process, allowing for large-scale production while maintaining the highest quality standards. MGP's distillery, Ross and Squibb Distillery, is dedicated to the founders of Indiana's rye whiskey legacy. This facility combines traditional craftsmanship with advanced techniques to create a superior product.

Technology at Ross and Squibb Distillery: A Fusion of Tradition and Cutting-Edge Methods

A facility that seamlessly blends time-honored techniques with state-of-the-art technology is at the heart of MGP's expansive rye whiskey production, the Ross and Squibb Distillery. With this dynamic synergy, not only is the company capable of large-scale production but also devoted to providing exceptional quality and consistency in every rye whiskey bottle.

In addition, Ross and Squibb Distillery takes a holistic approach to whiskey production, propagating its own yeast to ensure a unique fermentation process. Brick and wood warehouses add complexity to the aging process, as each barrel is aged at a different temperature and humidity level.

Ross and Squibb Distillery

Additionally, the distillery has developed proprietary technology to handle spent grain efficiently. This innovation demonstrates their commitment to sustainability without compromising the quality of the whiskey. Ross and Squibb Distillery's commitment to both tradition and innovation sets them apart in the world of rye whiskey production, allowing them to produce exceptional spirits on an impressive scale while maintaining their integrity.


Because of its unique flavor profile and popularity among whiskey enthusiasts, Indiana Rye whiskey stands out in the world of spirits. MGP's distillery, Ross and Squibb, plays a pivotal role in the production of this exceptional whiskey. Due to its rich history and unique taste, Indiana Rye is a whiskey lover's favorite. 


Even this year, the Master Of Rye Circle will present a month of delicious cocktails and whiskey tastings to commemorate Indiana Rye.

Stay tuned!

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