In the early days of whiskey-making, there was little consistency from batch to batch. That changed largely due to the efforts of one Dr. James Christopher Crow, a Scottish immigrant trained in medicine and chemistry who took a job with the Old Oscar Pepper Distillery (now Woodford Reserve) in Woodford County, Ky., in the 1830s. Crow didn’t invent the bourbon distilling process, but he refined it through innovations such as using a thermometer to check temperature, a hydrometer to check alcohol levels and litmus paper to check the pH at each step. Perhaps most important, he wrote it all down so it could be recreated. Crow’s whiskey, called Old Crow, is now a Beam product and has served as the namesake for Doc Crow’s restaurant and likely the Old Crow Medicine Show, although I could not find conclusive evidence for that.
SOURCE: “Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey: An American Heritage,” by Michael Veach.