The Barleycorn Name

Where does The Barleycorn Pub name come from?

The Barleycorn Pub name derives from an old folksong popular around the time of harvest. The song is the allegorical tale of the death and resurrection of John Barleycorn, the personification of barley. In the tale, John Barleycorn is attacked and tortured in accordance with the various stages of barley cultivation like reaping and malting. Come Autumn, the townspeople turn John Barleycorn into beer and whiskey. They toast him as they drink his “blood”, and their joy abounds (the drunker n’ drunker they get).

Robert Burns

Robert Burns

The song is often sung around harvest time in England, Ireland, and Scotland and extends as far back as the 16th century.  Perhaps the most famous rendering of the tale is by the Scottish poet, Robert Burns, published n 1782.

John Barleycorn was a hero bold,
Of noble enterprise;
For if you do but taste his blood,
‘Twill make your courage rise

 Click to Read the Full Poem

John Barleycorn Must Die is also the title of a hit song by the English rock band Traffic. Watch a paired down version from the band’s frontman, Steve Winwood.


 The Barleycorn Pub | (828) 774-5598 | 697-A Haywood Road | West Asheville, NC 28806