Ever wonder how Peoria got the nickname “Whiskey City”? The answer is simple. Between 1837 and 1919, more whiskey was made in Peoria and the surrounding area than anyplace else in the country. The good spring water and abundance of corn made it possible. This was good whiskey that was inexpensive. With the production of whiskey came whiskey barons. They built beautiful homes and other public projects that made their community distinctive. After Prohibition, the area was no longer the national center for alcohol production, but it did pick up again. Hiram Walker opened a plant on the riverfront in 1933 and stayed in production until 1982.