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Columnar Distillation: Aeneas Coffey
Aeneas Coffey may be Ireland's and also St. Paddy's Day's greatest legacy. You see, prior to the invention of the columnar distillation process, the manufacturing of distilled alcoholic beverages — whiskeys, vodkas, gins, rums, brandies, tequilas, you name it — all were done with "pot stills," or small-scale production processes which were not economically feasible for mass production of these boozy libations.
So when you're having your Irish Coffee the day after St. Pat's to bring you out of your hangover, thank another Coffey: Mr. Aeneas, for allowing whiskey to be consumed by Irish and hard drinkers the world over.