Peru’s Gift To The World
There can be no doubt that pisco is a beverage of Peruvian origin, for there is abundant historical evidence to support this fact.
Going back to pre-Columbian times, the word “pisco” is the Quechua name that ancient Peruvians gave to birds. This is particularly significant given that the numerous species of birds soar over the bay, which centuries later became the setting for the port of Pisco, as well as throughout the skies of Ica and Nazca, and it was in this region that this grape distillate was produced for the first time.
At the same time, “piskos” or “pishkos” were a caste of skilled potters native to the regions of Pisco and Ica who mastered the art of transforming clay into earthenware vessels shaped very like those which would later become known as pisco Botijas, or simply “piscos” or “piskos.”
The name of this beverage is also linked to the name of the Ica port of Pisco, which dates back to the 16th century, making the historical basis for the Peruvian origin of the product in question quite irrefutable.
In a 1574 map of Peru, Pisco is already marked on the coast of the Ica region, south of Lima, clearly demonstrating the antiquity of the place name. This locality, in common with other parts of the Ica region, was devoted to the cultivation of grapevines, which adapted readily to the native soil and warm climate, giving rise to the emergence of the local wine and pisco-making tradition.
Controlled and encouraged by religious orders, gradually, the art of making spirits from grapes was transformed into a veritable industry by the standards of the time so that the prestige of the fine grape distillate produced in Peru transcended borders and spread to distant shores.
The port of Pisco became the gateway for exports. It was from here that pisco was shipped to other parts of the Americas and even as far away as Europe. And that was how the Peruvian pure grape spirit exported from the Pisco dockside adopted the name of the port, while at the same time being shipped in clay pots also known by that name.
The rest is history. It is the history of a name that served to identify the birds that inhabited a section of the Peruvian coast where ancient artisans and the pottery vessels they fashioned were also both known by the name “pisco.” It is the history of a port in honor of which an exceptional spirit was named, and from which it was transported to far off places. It is the history of beverage that forms an inseparable part of the culture and traditions of Peru.