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By the time Christopher Columbus set sail for the New World, religious orders in Scotland and Ireland had established a blooming whisky industry. In Scotland in 1494 Friar John Cor received a shipment of malt, “wherewith to make aqua vitae.” While the monks used distillation to produce beverages for religious rites, Cor’s delivery was large enough to produce some 1,500 bottles, indicating that whisky distillation had already transcended the spiritual world and entered the secular.
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