Areas of Kentucky are known for the production of bourbon whiskey and the lower Green River Valley in the Western part of the Commonwealth played a key role in Kentucky's rich bourbon heritage. Corn was a favored crop in the 18th and 19th centuries. Large amounts of corn were not easily transported, so whiskey making was an answer to that problem. By distilling large amounts of corn into easily transportable, highly valued barrels of whiskey, the rivers of Kentucky became central to the whiskey trade.
The distilled spirits produced in Kentucky gained popularity in New Orleans and was known as the best money could buy. One of the reasons for the distinctive flavor was the practice of burning and charring the inside of barrels to create a layer of charcoal. The charcoal mellowed the taste and that practice still continues today.
For a time the Green River branded product produced in Owensboro was the most advertised whiskey in the U.S. The distillery was forced out of business by Prohibition. Many years later the brand was revived, and today, is once again made in Owensboro.