THE HISTORY OF PISCO

THE NAME "PISCO" ORIGINATES FROM THE REGION OF ICA IN PERU

There are different stories of where Peru's grape spirit's name "Pisco" came from. The only similarity these stories have with each other is the geographic origin around the Peruvian coastal port city Pisco in the Ica-Valley. 

One explanation for the origin of the name Pisco is based on the historic containers called "Piskos". "Piskos" are clay pots that were crafted since the early days in the region. Today, they are used to store the distilled grape spirit, that we now call Pisco. A further explication of how Pisco got its name refers to the first exports of the grape brandy, which merchants shipped to Spain in boxes labelled "de Pisco". This label referred to the coastal city Pisco as the port of origin of the traded goods.

Historians are still debating which of these stories is the more accurate one. One thing is sure though, "Pisco" in Quechua, the original language of the native people of Peru, means "bird". A huge number of fish surround the region around the port city and attract flights and flights of birds to that area. It is safe to assume that the flying "Piscos" is what gave the city Pisco its name. 

Read more on the origin of the name Pisco on Wikipedia

PISCO HAS A LONG HISTORY

The historian Lorenzo Huerto dates the first production of a distilled fermented grape spirit (Pisco) in the region around the port town Pisco in the Ica Valley during the late 16th century. Precise written references of a brandy produced around the city Pisco by Sir Francis Drake were written in the year 1580.

This implies that Pisco is one of the oldest and tradition-steeped distilled spirits on the South American continent.

PERU AND CHILE HAVE AN ONGOING DISPUTE ABOUT THE NATIONALITY OF PISCO

When the grape brandy Pisco was first produced, the corresponding region around the port town Pisco belonged to the Spanish empire and was governed within the viceroyalty of Peru.

After gaining independence from the Spanish empire (Chile in 1818, Peru in 1821), the resulting two countries fought several wars against each other over the newly established borders. During these wars, the Chileans also conquered the city of Pisco for a period of time. To this day, both Chile and Peru claim the origin of the spirit Pisco for themselves.

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