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8 of North America's oldest distilleries

Laird and Co.

Photo: Tim Sackton/flickr

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Laird and Co.

According to Laird and Co., William Laird, a Scottish immigrant to the U.S., began making apple brandy in New Jersey soon after arriving in the New World in 1698. An official distillery license was granted to Laird's descendants in 1780, and their business thrived until 1849, when the Colts Neck Inn, where the spirits were made and served, burned down in a fire.

The distillery was quickly rebuilt in its current Scobeyville location. Soon after the fire, the famous applejack, a cider spirit, was born. It is still popular, especially in the eastern U.S. Laird also makes apple brandy, which was produced even during Prohibition for medicinal purposes.