The knowledge of distillation was introduced in the British Isles by monks coming from continental Europe during the 11ā€“13th centuries.

The Dissolution of the Monasteries managed by Henry VIII of England in the 16th century contributed to the spread of distilling skills. Expelled monks had no choice but to become master distillers.

The first licensed distillery in the world, the Old Bushmills Distillery located in Northern Ireland, obtained official permission from King James I in 1608 for producing whisky.

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