What’s In a Name?

Many folks ask us how Chicken Cock got its name. While we weren’t around in 1856 and written records are sparse, we have some clues. Broadly, early American distillers had a particular fondness for naming their brands after either people, places or animals… makes sense. And as most lived in the country, most of the animals were either those they hunted or raised on farms. They also loved anything with “old” in the name. The most popular combination of the two still around would be Old Crow, first introduced in 1835.

As for Chicken Cock, before the mid-19th century, the male chicken was referred to as a “cock” or sometimes if younger a “cockerel.” Cockerel is still the common term used in the UK. Male birds other than chickens were also called cocks, hence the full term “Chicken Cock” to refer to a male chicken. Around the 1860’s, the term “cock” started being commonly used in other ways than referring just to a male bird 😉 hence the beginnings of the term “rooster” to refer to a male chicken. Given the popularity of the Chicken Cock brand in the 19th century and during Prohibition, a change to “Rooster American Whiskey” was never contemplated, nor will it be… Thank goodness for that! With that being said, the history lesson is over… now back to drinking!