January, 1620 : When Scottish and Irish immigrants traveled to the New World, they brought their distilling equipment and experience with them. Fresh water was hard to find, so distilled spirits quickly became the "healthy" liquid of choice. They started distilling with new grains they found, making fruit brandies and unaged whiskies. By 1661, "a still and worm had been set up in New London for distilling rum."
Source: Crowgey, H. (2013) The Early Years of Whiskey Making, University Press Kentucky.