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Thread: My Book

  1. #11
    **DONOTDELETE**
    Guest

    Re: My Book

    Okay, I give up. This was all a setup, wasn't it?

    Not twenty minutes after I posted that last reply, and only a few hours after my longer answer to Scott and Mike, the long-awaited latest issue of the Bourbon Country Reader arrived in the mail. And what would the feature story be? Why none other than a perfect illustration of everything I'd just said!

    For those who aren't already reading this in Vol 5 No 2, the author of a recent book of bourbon history took Chuck to task for what she interpreted as a slur on a dear family member's character in an article appearing in the previous edition. The article was titled, "Trouble With Bourbon History..." and dealt with exactly what poor Mike Veach will have to deal with if he is to try to sort out the tangled lines of events in the world of bourbon. Actually, I didn't see any personal criticism in the article, but then it wasn't my grandfather who was the subject either. At any rate, in working out the details with her and her historic advisor, Chuck learned even more about the subject and he passes that on in this edition. As with so many things about bourbon history, what starts out seeming to be just a little marketing story ends up involving all kinds of juicy little scandals, such as theft of controlled substances by federal agents, altering of photographs, blocking of proprietary information, and a historic line that wiggles its way through at least five distilleries. And for what? We're not talking about cloak 'n' dagger stuff here, just a harmless little tale about how a particular brand got started. And for her part, the author made a very plausible point that if her grandfather had indeed known the true story he would certainly not have covered it up since it's just the sort of tale he loved to tell. In fact it would have been darn near impossible to keep from telling it. Unless of course...

    Since telling the true story might have involved "squealing" on a corrupt federal agent who was still in the business, and whose "exceptions" might not have been limited to only small quantities for his own personal use, the question of physical safety arises and the better part of valor might have been to stay with the "official" story. And for the sake of his family (which would have included his granddaughter) I suspect that may have been exactly what he did. Despite a little girl's memories, not everyone was nice during Prohibition.

    Anyway, all the more reason to subscribe to Chuck's newsletter. And watch out, Mike. You go poking around in historical beehives, you better be wearing long sleeves.

    P.S. - Chuck, do you think Max Shapiro is aware that Evan Williams didn't really sell his first-ever commercial bourbon distillery directly to Frank Heavenhill?
    [big ol' grin]

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

  2. #12
    **DONOTDELETE**
    Guest

    Re: My Book

    Mike after reading everyones posts it sure looks like it is a distilling encyclopedia that is desired. Instead of a single upper lever course maybe the University of Kentucky would offer it as a Bachelors of Bourbonology.
    Of course this means that there must be labwork in the methods of practical distilling. Rather than writting term papers an assortment of formulas would be distilled and barreled in handsome five gallon kegs. Waiting four to twelve years for a final grade would be tough.

    Linn Spencer

    Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

  3. #13
    **DONOTDELETE**
    Guest

    Re: My Book

    I want to start by thanking everybody for their comments and encouragement. I think you are seeing how hard of a task I have set for myself as well as how badly it needs to be done. You all have some very good suggestions and comments that I will take note of for future reference.
    Now I think I will clarify what I do plan to do in this book so you all will have a little more understanding of my project. I think that nobody (including myself) will be completely happy with what I have planned but you must remember that this book is meant to be a starting point and not and end all history of the subject of distilling in America. First of all there are so many types of history that could be written on the subject. There is business history looking at taxation and marketing of whiskey. There is social history looking at the roles of women on the bottling lines. There is history of the industrial revolution with the impact of steam energy, improved transportation and and evolving stills. There is political history with the Whiskey Rebellion and the Whiskey Ring scandal. Any one of these subjects could be a book in itself. So now I will tell you what I do plan to put in the book and I think the best way is to give you a brief chapter outline.
    Chapter 1 Bourbon Making
    I plan to start with a chapter on what is bourbon. I will describe how it is made and how it is different from Brandy, Gin, Rum, and other whiskies such as Scotch and Irish whisk(e)y. This will define a lot of terms and procedures that I plan to talk about in the following chapters.
    Chapter 2 The Still
    This chapter will discuss the origin and evolution of the still. I will talk about early European distilling to some extent and how distilling came to America.
    Chapter 3 The Farmer Distiller and the Whiskey Rebellion
    This chapter will talk of early farmer distillers, how they made their product and where they sold it. I will talk of the whiskey tax and the rebellion by the farmer distillers. I will discuss the charring of barrels.
    Chapter 4 The Industrial Revolution Part One
    This chapter will discuss the improvements to distilling that led to the demise of the farmer distiller. The impact of Railroads and Steamboats and steam engines. I will also talk of improvements made by Dr. Crow and other factors such as the column still.
    Chapter 5 The Civil War and after.
    Here I will talk about the growth of government regulations and the tax that never went away. I will also discuss the Whiskey Ring Scandal of the Grant Administration.
    Chapter 6 The Industrial Revolution Part Two
    This chapter will discuss the improvements in technology in the late half of the century. I will also talk of the marketing revolution with the beginnings of Trademark Registration and advertisement of the product. The chapter will talk of the Pure food and drug act and the Taft decision.
    Chapter 7 Prohibition
    I will have some background on the Temperance Movement and the passing of prohibition. I will then talk of the industry and how it survived prohibition. This will include those who could sell medicinal whiskey as well as those that were not.
    Chapter 8 Post prohibition and World War II
    The sudden growth of the industry followed by a quick consolidation. The beginnings of the super large companies we see today.
    Chapter 9 The 1950's through the 1970's
    The start of bourbon's glory days followed by the decrease in popularity as gin, vodka and other products came about as competitors to bourbon.
    Chapter 10 Rebirth
    Here I plan to talk about the rebirth of the industry from de-regulation under Ronald Regan to the birth of Single Barrel and Small batch bourbons.

    As You can see this will be quite a project. I do not know how much time I am going to dedicate to individual brand or distillery history. I think what I plan to do instead is to use individual brands or companies as case studies for the chapters. For example Old Crow is a natural for the Industrial Revolution Part One chapter and Heaven Hill is perfect for looking at new companies that were founded and survived in the years after prohibition.

    Well now, This is the plan and I will welcome comments from this forum.
    Mike Veach


  4. #14
    Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    Frankfort, KY
    Posts
    499

    Re: My Book

    Haven't had time to read the entire thread, but it appears to be a very interesting work. If I can be of service concerning the Buffalo Trace Distillery, please let me know. We are the oldest CONTINOUSELY operating distillery in the US. Not only do we date back to the 1800s, we were also in operation through Prohibition. E. H. Taylor was the first to use steam heat (both for distillation and warehouse climate control) here and from what I have gathered, we were the first distillery to ship barrels of whiskey down the Kentucky, Ohio, and Mississippi Rivers to St. Louis and New Orleans.

    Ken


  5. #15
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    12,389

    Re: My Book

    The distillery at Leestown may have been the first to float whiskey on the Kentucky, but the first whiskey from the Kentucky territory most likely was sent from the port of Limestone (now Maysville) before 1784.

    --Chuck Cowdery

  6. #16
    **DONOTDELETE**
    Guest

    Re: My Book

    Ken,
    Thanks for the offer. I would be interested in seeing what you have but I doubt that you have anything that I have not already seen. One of the advantages of having been archivist at United Distillers is that I had access to over 3,000 cubic feet of records from Schenley including the 3 volumes selling the Ancient Age distillery in 1983. When Elmer came and visited me at the archive in 1995 he told me that U.D. had more than he even thought existed about the distillery including the 1887 minute book incorperating George T. Stagg Company. Still you never know and I do like to check out every lead. I will try to get a hold of you and arrange a meeting.
    Mike Veach


  7. #17
    **DONOTDELETE**
    Guest

    Re: My Book

    My sources place the earliest date for distilling at the site as 1840 and that is a shakey source at best. The more likely date that I have comes from Schenley research that places a distillery on the property in 1865 after Benjamin Harrison Blanton returns from out west after earning a fortune in the gold rush but I suspect marketing even in that date. The most firm date I have is 1869 as the founding of the O.F.C. distillery. Any way you look at it bourbon was being shipped down to New Orleans a long time before E.H. Taylor was even born.
    Mike Veach


  8. #18
    Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    Frankfort, KY
    Posts
    499

    Re: My Book

    The earliest date I can document from this area is 1789, so you have me beat by five years.

    Ken


 

 

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