France has always been a grape growing country, producing some of the finest wines in the entire world. So, it only makes sense that their liquor history would be a spinoff of the grape. Dutch engineers were brought in to France by King Henry IV in the 1600’s to drain Marais Poitevin (a marsh). They grew fond of the French wines, but they were unable to bring them home since they were low in alcohol and would spoil easily. The Dutch began to distill wine by overheating a special copper pot. This byproduct was call Brandewijn (burnt wine); which eventually would be known as Brandy in English. The French had distilled alcohol, but mainly for medicinal purposes. Furthermore there wasn’t much of a market for ‘Eau-De-Vie’, but the complex flavors produced from Cognac wines became popular in Northern European taverns. France was finally on the map for producing fine wines as well as French liquors!
Now days the country produces much more than Brandy and Cognac; they produce Absinthe, Liqueurs and Whisky.