President of the Irish Academy Nicholas Canny, Alicia St Leger of the Irish Georgian Society, and master distiller Barry Crockett are amongst the luminaries who will pore over the subject at the two-day event, which is sponsored by Youghal Town Council and the McCarthy family.
The conference topics will include ‘The lives of Cork distilling families’, ‘Innovation and success within the industry’ and ‘The role of bread and beer in the domestic economy’.
Additionally, music professor Daithí Ó Cearnaigh and Youghal Comhaltas members will take measure of the role whiskey plays in Irish song.
“We want people to enjoy learning history, so our conferences are not heavily academic but are a mixture of talk, song and music,” said Youghal Celebrates History spokesman Kieran Groeger.
The weekend also features a whiskey-themed conference dinner, a walking tour of Youghal and an excursion to Old Midleton Distillery.
Records indicate that Irish whiskey dates from the 12th century.
By the late 18th century, Ireland had about 2,000 stills, but social and legislative changes reduced the numbers to 28 by 1885.
*The conference, at Mall Arts Centre opens on Saturday at 10.45am.
Full conference fee is €70; over 55s and students €10; single-day rates and field trip only also available; conference dinner €35.
For more details, phone 024-81814 or 087-9666554, or see the website as exa.mn/xr