Peter Smirnoff Everyone's favorite vodka and occasional paint thinner, Smirnoff was made by honest to goodness Russian boozehound Peter Smirnoff back in the 1800's. His vodka was so good he became the official distiller of Czar Alexander III, which would be the equivalent today of Dick Cheney entrusting you to warm his milk at night.
By the 1900's, Smirnoff was rolling out one million bottles per day and everything is about as cool hookers who take food stamps until the Russian Revolution. The distillery is confiscated and the Smirnoff in charge is sentenced to death. However, he manages to escape to Turkey and continue making hooch, demonstrating either dedication or a weird kind of insanity.
By 1934, in the midst of the Great Depression, Smirnoff sells the company to Rudolph Kunett who brings it to the US. Decades later, a near infinite number of college girls stumbling around with fruit juices and steadily lowering inhibitions are his legacy.
Jim Beam Basically the rulers of a bourbon empire, the Beam family are kings of southern booze making. Not content to just make their own, since the company's origins in the late 1700's, nearly every other major distillery that has made bourbon has employed someone in the family, for seven generations. These guys were serious as sh*t about bourbon and in a straight up fight against Kentucky's other famous businessman, the mint-julep touting fancy boy that was Col. Sanders, would probably straight up murder the man.
When Prohibition forced the shut down of the distillery, Jim Beam left and wandered the country like an entrepreneurial Kwai Chang Kane; growing citrus, then coal mining, then running a lime stone quarry. When Prohibition ended, Jim, now 70 years old, returned to his roots and went right back to making bourbon, driven by a dedication to see his countrymen sh*tfaced.
Jose Antonio de Cuervo In 1758, the King of Spain gave Cuervo a plot of land in Mexico. Not known as the spring break party spot it is today, Cuervo went there and chose to start a business instead of banging college girls. However, his relationship with sexual misadventures on spring break exists even today, thanks to the drink he's responsible for.
Cuervo started making mezcal, a drink the locals seemed to enjoy, and then refined it. His descendants followed in his footsteps and named the drink after the town in which was made, Tequila. Years later, the name would be applied to a woman best touched only under its influence, Tila Tequila.
Adolph Coors Possibly one of the hardest working men in the history of beer making, Coors did damn near everything when he wasn't brewing. At one time or another he managed to work as a bookkeeper, a laborer, a fireman, a bricklayer, a gardener, a stone cutter and, according to the historical records of a shirt he was known to wear, he was also a "Federal Boobie Inspector."
In 1873, Coors moved to Denver and partnered up with a local confectioner, whose kick ass nickname was probably "The Candyman" and started up the Golden Brewery. 7 years later Coors had made enough money to buy out his partner and take sole ownership. The Candyman went on to take a sunrise, sprinkle it with dew, cover it with chocolate and a miracle or two, as chronicled by Sammy Davis Jr.
Jack Daniel JD has a reputation of being a bad ass manly drink, and as well it should. The real Jack Daniel, born Jasper Newton Daniel, probably had at least 3 balls. The youngest of 13 children born in the 1800's in Tennessee, Daniel was already fed up with other people's shit by the age of 6, so he left home. He may have also changed his name to Jack at this time so as not to develop a reputation as a Jasper.
Daniel ended up working for a neighbor, Dan Call, who was a preacher and a whiskey maker, because back in those days, in the south, you couldn't be one without being the others. By the time he was 13, Daniel owned the whole operation as the good reverend felt he needed to spend more time preaching instead of getting the congregation sauced.
Daniel sold hooch to both sides in the Civil War, because no matter your political leanings, getting sloppy drunk is a unifying habit of all mankind, and used the money to make a real distillery. By 1866, Jack had the first registered distillery in America.
For the rest of his days, Daniel always wore a costume. He was rarely seen in anything but a mustache and goatee combo, a planter's hat and a knee length coat. Add in the fact that he was all of 5'2" and he probably looked like the crazy, drunken Napoleon of the South.
Arthur Guinness Having not one but two legacies is pretty impressive, so we can be in awe of Guinness for not only giving us one of the few beers you can eat with a fork but also a book of totally stupid as shit world records. Lord knows where we'd be today as a species if someone wasn't keeping track of the world's fattest midgets and largest pizzas.
Naturally an Irishman, Guinness started brewing ale back in the mid 1700's and for the most part no one was entirely blown away as it takes effort to impress an Irishman with a glass of booze. Guinness managed to get a lease, for up to 9,000 years, at $45 a year, on an abandoned brewery with the $100 he had been left by his father. Since it's now the largest selling stout in the world, that kick ass yearly rent is probably ensuring the current owners have enough disposable income to go out for dinner at least once a week, every week.
However, when a fire broke out at the brewery and scorched the ever loving shit out of the entire stock of barley, some ingenious brewers decided to shrug and use the burnt stuff anyway. The resulting brew is the Guinness we all know and chew today.
Joseph Seagram From the Great White North, Seagram's was a distiller based out of Canada and was the largest distiller of alcohol in the world. Now when you think of Canada, aside from beavers and maple syrup you can also think of drunks. Filthy, cold drunks.
Joseph Seagram, the founder of the distillery, began mixing booze while he worked at a flour mill. Not content to simply be an average joe, he also found the time to become a champion horse breeder, winning several major competitions, and spent several years as president of the Ontario Jockey Club, where he no doubt ruled over legions of jockeys with a whiskey sodden iron fist not unlike Willy Wonka and his Oompa Loompas.
As any good drunk horse breeder will tell you, the two don't fully compliment each other until you throw politics into the mix. Seagram served on town council for a while before finding a position in the Federal government which he held for 8 years before deciding to pack it in and keep his attention focused solely on ensuring people were vomiting his product all across the world