Distilling Of Potatoes

This is a branch of distilling that I cannot too highly recommend to the

attention of every American--nor can the cultivation of this valuable

vegetable be carried to a too great extent, the value of which ought to

be known to every planter and it some times has awakened my surprise

that they are not more cultivated, as it is notorious that they will

sustain, and be a tolerable food for every thing possessing life on this

/> earth--and as they produce a brandy, if properly made, of fine flavour.

I hope yet to see the day when it will take precedence of French brandy

and West-India spirits, and thereby retain in our own country, the

immense sums at present expended on those foreign liquors; which, tho'

benefitted by the sea voyage, yet often reaches us in a most

pernicious state, and is frequently adulterated here.

Could the American farmer be brought to raise a larger quantity of

potatoes than necessary for his consumption at home, the price would be

lowered, and the distiller might commence the distillation of them with

greater propriety. That they contain a great deal and a very good

spirit, I am certain, and moreover, after distillation will yield as

great a quantity of good wholesome food for cattle or hogs, as rye or

any other grain. If distillers could be brought to try the experiment of

distilling ten or twelve bushels annually, I venture to predict that it

would soon become a source of profit to themselves, encouragement to the

farmer, and be of benefit to our country at large.

One acre of ground, if well farmed, will produce from fifty to one

hundred bushels of potatoes, but say sixty on an average. One hundred

farmers each planting one acre, would yield six thousand bushels, which

will yield at least two gallons of spirit to each bushel; thus, twelve

thousand gallons of wholesome spirit may be produced, and with care, as

good as necessary to be drank. Each farmer proceeding in this way, would

have one hundred and twenty gallons spirit, as much as he may have

occasion to use in the year, which would save the price of some acres

of wheat or one hundred and twenty gallons rye whiskey. Each acre worked

in potatoes will be in better order to receive a crop of wheat, barley,

rye, or any kind of grain, than from any other culture. The farmer often

receiving the advantage of a double crop, at the expense of seed and

labor. They grow equally well in every soil and climate, in poor as well

as rich ground--provided the thin soil be manured, and the potatoes

plastered with plaster of Paris; and moreover, they are easier prepared

for distilling than either apples, rye or corn, as I shall show

hereafter when I come to treat of the mode of preparation; and in order

to demonstrate the advantages that would arise to the farmer and

distiller; I add a statement of the probable profits of ten acres of

potatoes, and that of a like number of acres of rye, to shew which

offers the greatest advantages.

Potatoes DR.

Ten acres at 60 bushels is

600 bushels at 33 cents $ 198 00


Ten acres of Rye, at 30

bushels per acre, is 300

bushels at 60 cents $ 180 00


600 bushels yielding 2 gallons

to the bushel, 1200

gallons at 50 cents 600


$ 402


300 bushels yielding 3 gallons

to the bushel, 900

gallons at 50 cents 450


$ 270

Balance in favor of Potatoes $ 132

Thus a balance of one hundred and thirty two dollars would appear in

favor of the yield of potatoes.

I would not pretend to say that ten acres of Potatoes will not take more

labor than ten acres of rye, but this far I will venture to say, that

the profits arising from the sale of this brandy, will more than double

pay the additional expense of raising them, besides the ground will be

in much better condition to receive a crop of wheat, than the rye

ground, nay, will be enriched from the crop, whilst the rye ground will

be greatly impoverished.