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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2005

    Database Index to Cecil's Book

    With the kind help of a couple of friends who helped troubleshoot this, I have put together an Excel database index to Sam Cecil's book "The Evolution of the Bourbon Whiskey Industry in Kentucky."

    Over Thanksgiving, I realized it was difficult for me to use Cecil's book because I spent so much time blindly thumbing through it. After thinking about it, I realized it wouldn't be so hard to put together a database that would be far superior to a simple printed index, as it would allow one to sort for several different criteria, such as the registered distillery number, date of first distillation, last distillation, county, location, page number in the book, etc.

    Here are some points:

    There are two pages, accessed via the tabs at the bottom of the page.

    There is a page called "discussion" that gives directions on how to sort the database.

    There is also a page called "database," which is the meat of the document.

    The most powerful part of the database is the "sort" command. Instructions on its use are on the "discussion" page

    Whenever Cecil gives a variation on "closed at Prohibition and didn't reopen" I put 1918 as the date of last distillation. We could also make a case for 1917 and 1919, but that would be trying to add precision that isn't in the text. The number 1918 is given solely for the sake of making the sortable database function (Excel doesn't know how to rand "Prohibition" as sometime between 1917 and 1919)

    I tried to list the places accurately, but a local could no doubt improve greatly. That is beyond my scope.

    There are errors and questions raised based on my lack of local knowledge, misinterpretations of Cecil, and I'm sure, dumb typos. For instance, there were multiple distilleries listed with the same registered distillery number during the same period. This could be an error on Cecil's part, my part, it could have been common ownership of two distilleries, or something else. All I'm saying is it's worth looking into, and Cecil's book is the first place to learn more - which is why every entry gives a relevant page number in Cecil. Timothy and I believe the pagination is the same between the two editions, but I used the Second Edition in writing this.

    Most of all, I built this for my personal use and other enthusiast's use as a way to make it easier to use Cecil, not replace Cecil. When in doubt, always consult the text.

    I hope it proves useful.

    As an aside, Mike Veach says there will soon be a more definitive book that will replace Cecil coming soon, so any usefulness of this database may be short-lived.

    Download Cecil-Index-V1.1.xls (77.5K)

  2. #2
    Mr. Anal Retentive Bourbon Drinker
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Houston, TX

    Re: Database Index to Cecil's Book

    very nice, A+ for your work on this!

  3. #3
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 1999

    Re: Database Index to Cecil's Book

    Roger, et. al.,

    To call it merely an index vastly understates your accomplishment. This is a very valuable piece of work, a significant contribution to our body of knowledge. It is a fitting tribute to Sam's legacy and quite wonderful in its own right.

    Thank you and congratulations.

  4. #4
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Toronto, Canada

    Re: Database Index to Cecil's Book

    Most impressive!


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2005

    Re: Database Index to Cecil's Book

    Thanks guys.

    The thing that struck me in compiling this is how many different places apparently used the same RD in the same time period. Things like that just aren't obvious until they can easily be listed and ranked. The database also makes it easy to see how prohibition may have ultimately failed to curtail drinking, but it consolidated whiskey making into solely a big business venture by eliminating all the small and aging distilleries much more successfully than the whiskey trust. There are so many "last distilled" in and around 1918, and so many fewer that "first distilled" after prohibition.

    My favorite story from Cecil is of DS Wood (RD 19), where neighbors burned the plant down shortly after it was built, yet co-partner Morgan Edelen bore them no ill will as they shouldn't have located there anyway (!?!?!).

    DS Wood is also one of the only two uses in Cecil of RD 19 (along with GR Sharpe/Kessler), even though that number was stamped during his career in the whiskey industry onto thousands and thousands and thousands of bottles of a little ol' whiskey named ...Old Taylor... . In fact, Old Crow, one of the other most important distilleries of the 20th century, doesn't have a listing in Cecil with the DSP that ND used for perhaps 40 years, either.

    One of the frustrations I had with this database was that I couldn't make general dates (i.e 1880s) sequence with exact dates (i.e. between 1879 and 1890); they list sequentially after all the exact dates.


  6. #6
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    DFW, Texas

    Re: Database Index to Cecil's Book

    I've recently begun reading this book and this database is going to make a great companion. Thank you very much Roger!

    "Why don't you quit cryin' and get me some bourbon?"

  7. #7
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    Oct 2007

    Re: Database Index to Cecil's Book

    Quote Originally Posted by Rughi View Post
    One of the frustrations I had with this database was that I couldn't make general dates (i.e 1880s) sequence with exact dates (i.e. between 1879 and 1890); they list sequentially after all the exact dates.
    Do you mean you wish to sort the data base using the First Distillation field, to get:


    If I so I know of two ways, offhand, to do that; but both are klutzy and/or extra work. I'll keep thinking on it.

    I got the St Louis blues, I'm blue as I can get.
    I sent Louis to the liquor store, and he ain't come back yet.
    -Jimmy Johnson, "The Twelve Bar Blues"



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