, 1796 : Henry Crowgey's book, Kentucky Bourbon, uses multiple sources to show that between 1796 - 1812, rye whiskey was the preferred beverage and distillate to corn-based spirits. A Lexington firm wanted to hire a distiller with "good clean rye," and a Louisville grocery store offered both Old Rye Whiskey and common rye whiskey. He writes, "Writers of a later day have been somewhat remiss in referring almost solely to corn distillates."
Source: Crowgey, H. (2013) Kentucky Bourbon, the Early Years of Whiskey Making. University Press of Kentucky. 44.