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Thread: My Book

  1. #1
    **DONOTDELETE**
    Guest

    My Book

    Just to let everyone know I am working on a book. Chuck has already figured this out from the nature of some of my inquiries on this site. I plan to write a history of the American Distilling Industry and my working title now is American Distilling History 301. I plan to write this book as if I were teaching an advanced survey course in distilling history and I do plan to use footnotes. It will be a survey because I realise that each chapter that I have planned out could be a book in its own right. I will welcome any comments that you might wish to make on the book and I hope the reaction will not be "History, how boring! Where is the tasting notes?". I do not plan to do tasting notes or comment on the qualities of any particular brands but I do want to try to set some myths and legends to rest because I feel the truth is always more interesting than marketing schemes, Old or New.
    For the record so that people do know that I do enjoy a good bourbon my favorite is Weller Antique. I consider it the best drink for the buck. The best bourbon I have ever drank is a 15 year old Very Extra Old Fitzgerald Bottled in Bond bottled in 1981. I also have a very high respect for Maker's Mark, Wild Turkey and George Dickel. I do not think that bourbon should be bottled at less than 86 proof (90 is better) and that Pappy Van Winkle was right when he said you are stupid to pay for water when you can add your own to lower the proof.
    I have just started the planning stage of the book and I have set a goal of having it written within 5 years. I have not talked to any publishers as of yet and really don't plan to until I get it written the way I want it done before they get a hold of it tell me such things like footnotes are boring and people don't want to see them. I feel that the footnotes and documenting my information is a must for the book. There are very few books of bourbon history with them now and that is how the myths continue.
    I just wanted everyone to know what I am doing and I do hope to read your comments.
    Mike Veach


  2. #2
    **DONOTDELETE**
    Guest

    Re: My Book

    Mike,

    I'm certainly delighted to know that the rest of us will someday be able to reap the benefits of your knowledge. I sure hope that you'll be so kind as to share with us, from time to time,some of whatever you're writing about as you progress through.

    And please,
    please, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, <u>Puh-LEEEEESE</u> include a good index!!!! (see previous discussions of Sam Cecil's book)

    -John Lipman-
    http://w3.one.net/~jeffelle/whiskey

  3. #3
    **DONOTDELETE**
    Guest

    Re: My Book

    John,
    I agree that an index is a very important part of any history. I plan to have an index, bibliography and footnotes. My goal is to write something that will allow future researchers to continue where I left off and to know where I found what information I have so they can judge the value of that information for themselves.
    Mike


  4. #4
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    Bloomington, IN
    Posts
    784

    Re: My Book

    Mike, GREAT!! First, let me encourage you. Second, if you are as entertaining as John's style on his web site or as Chuck no one could accuse you of writing boring history. Third, if you need some assistance publishing I'd be glad to approach our Press with you. I've not written for them (I write magazine articles) but they are quite approachable and my one of best friends has helped them sell dozens of books.

    Greg Kitz


  5. #5
    **DONOTDELETE**
    Guest

    Re: My Book

    Greg,
    Thanks for the voice of encouragement. This book is long over due and people have been asking me to write it for years. I finally decided the time was right when I purchased a new computer replacing the one I used in college in the late 1980's and early 1990's. I was also inspired by Sally Campbell. I helped her with some of her research and her enthusiasm for writing her book rubbed off some on me, so I want just started to put an outline together. I still have some subject matters that I want to research further and I do want to write this book at my own pace so I have not even considered a publisher but I will keep your offer in mind.
    Mike Veach


  6. #6
    **DONOTDELETE**
    Guest

    Re: My Book

    Mike, You have my encouragement and best wishes. Scholarly history is always instructive and satisifying to true lovers of a subject. You might want to throw in as many numbers and tables as possible so you can expand you audiance to us engineers (and probably some accountants too). I feel like dates and production figures help tell any history. A nice listing and history of DSP nunbers might sell a pile of your books alone. A cataloge of old distillery sites would certaintly whet the appetite.

    It is true that tasting notes are covered by many of the books out today, and I sence that you do not want to duplicate documenting the taste of current stock, but a very important and undeveloped aspect of American Whiskey history is how the taste changed over time. This would be very useful.

    Mark A. Mason, El Dorado, Arkansas

  7. #7
    **DONOTDELETE**
    Guest

    Re: My Book

    Mike, I've been devouring as many books on whiskey and bourbon as I can and would love to see another new one, especially one on the history of the various brands, distillers, etc. The older I get, the more clogged my brain becomes, so what I'd really appreciate in a book is something that breaks down each distillery/company into a graphical timeline - something easy to follow. I don't know about the rest of you (and God knows the knowledge and memory some of you have about these matters impresses the hell out of me), but I have a hard time keeping all these mergers, mega-companies, distributers and distilleries straight. Sure is a helluva lotta fun trying though!
    Scott
    Londonderry NH


  8. #8
    **DONOTDELETE**
    Guest

    Re: My Book

    Scott,

    Without taking anything away from Mike's proposed book (you better believe I'll be ordering the first copy available), you don't have to wait that long.

    The historic paths of bourbon brands are not easy for anyone to trace, given that the industry (certainly more than most others) has always sat on (and sometimes <u>be</u>yond) the very edge of legality and social acceptance, while at the same time being composed of wealthy and powerful folks in the very inner circles of regional and state politics. And much misleading information has been distributed over the years, both in order to hide relationships and for the purpose of implying those that never really existed. When you add to that the "extended family" that the bourbon makers form among themselves, it gets really rough to sort it all out. While highly competitive as a whole among other liquor industries, the bourbon people of north central Kentucky are amazingly tight and cooperative among themselves. And well they should be... most of them are offspring, brothers, sisters, cousins, etc. (hell, it seems like every other one is a Beam!). And those who aren't are close family friends who've gone back for generations. So suppose I'm a bourbonmaker and my daughter marries my competitor's son, who then builds a still of his own. Does that distillery belong to his family or mine? You legal types out there never mind what the book says; we all eat Sunday supper together after church (well, except for Ike Bernheim over there; he goes to his church on Saturday but he shows up for Sunday dinner with us anyway). And afterward we'll sip a little of Old John-Boy, which is made by another distillery where my son is the master distiller. So now, whose family's bourbon would that be?

    And if that weren't enough of a tangle to unweave, there's the fact that the law recognizes as completely separate properties the distillery facilities, the label and brand name, the formula, the yeast strain, the existing stock, and probably some other factors as well. Each of these things can be bought and sold separately from the others, and they often are. So if Old Grandma's name and label belong to Jim Beam but the formula was sold to Old Nolongerthere, it's actually ILLEGAL for Jim Beam to accurately duplicate the bourbon (don't laugh; that's happened. I didn't choose that phoney brand name for nothin' y'know)). The best they can do is come close. Yellowstone bourbon, once made by the now-closed Glenmore distillery in Owensboro, is available today from Barton Brands, who bought the label. They also bought the Glenmore distillery itself, but they use it only for bottling and Yellowstone is made at their distillery in Bardstown. The old Yellowstone stock, however, like all the Glenmore whiskey in the warehouses when Barton bought the the plant, was separate from that purchase. And Barton didn't choose to buy it. Various others did, however. One of those was Charles Medley, current paterfamilias of one of Kentucky's oldest and finest bourbon families. Well, actually two of them: the Medleys and also the Wathens' (see, it's just like I told ya above). Since 1812, a Medley had been master distiller somewhere continuously until 1991 when the company where Charles was the distiller was sold. And which company was that? Yup! Glenmore. He purchased a quantity of the old Glenmore stock and in 1996 Charles Medley began to issue bottles of Wathen's bourbon, which is none other than the same whiskey he himself had made for Glenmore years earlier. Of course it's aged much longer now, and hand selecting the barrels and marrying the product is far more carefully controlled now, but the whiskey itself is the actual product that would have been Yellowstone (or maybe Ezra Brooks). So if you're tracing the history of Yellowstone bourbon, which is the REAL one? Barton owns both the label and the facility where the product was distilled. Charlie Medley owns the actual whiskey, but he doesn't own the yeast or the formula so he can't make any more of it. You go figure it out.

    Better yet, let Mike figure it out. But don't be surprised if it takes him a LONG time to do it. Yup, Mike is sure gonna have a challenge trying to present this in a comprehensive but easily-followed way. I've seen others try it and fail dismally. If anyone could do it Mike can, and I can hardly wait to see the results. But since he'll probably take a good deal of time writing it, there is another really good alternative available right now.

    Haul your mouse over to <u>http://cowdery.home.netcom.com/page9.html</u> and order every available back issue of Chuck Cowdery's Bourbon Country Reader. Within those pages, along with tons of other juicy bits, are the stories of most of today's distilleries and some that are no more. No serious hobbiest should be without this information, and Chuck's presence here is a major part of what makes this forum so great. Of course you should also subscribe to current and future issues, but I figure that would be obvious.


    -John Lipman-
    http://w3.one.net/~jeffelle/whiskey

  9. #9
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    12,542

    Re: My Book

    Thanks for the plug, John. Your appreciation is always appreciated.

    --Chuck Cowdery

  10. #10
    **DONOTDELETE**
    Guest

    Re: My Book

    Gee, if I get six of my friends to sign up can I get a free, personalized KY-DSP# decoder ring? Huh?
    (P.S. - Are you going to be at the Kentucky Bourbon Festival this year?)

    -John Lipman-
    http://w3.one.net/~jeffelle/whiskey

 

 

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