Book Birthdays celebrate one year of a book’s life in tweets, reviews, and more. This month we’re saying Happy First Birthday to Bourbon Justice by Brian F. Haara.
About the Book:
Bourbon whiskey has made a surprising contribution to American legal history. Tracking the history of bourbon and bourbon law illuminates the development of the United States as a nation, from conquering the wild frontier to rugged individualism to fostering the entrepreneurial spirit to solidifying itself as a nation of laws. Bourbon is responsible for the growth and maturation of many substantive areas of the law, such as trademark, breach of contract, fraud, governmental regulation and taxation, and consumer protection. In Bourbon Justice Brian Haara delves into the legal history behind one of America’s most treasured spirits to uncover a past fraught with lawsuits whose outcome, surprisingly perhaps, helped define a nation.
Approaching the history of bourbon from a legal standpoint, Haara tells the history of America through the development of commercial laws that guided our nation from an often reckless laissez-faire mentality, through the growing pains of industrialization, and past the overcorrection of Prohibition. More than just true bourbon history, this is part of the American story.
“The material is fresh and current, and will appeal both to the newly interested and the experts alike. Bourbon Justice feels like a complete journey through history, bringing it full circle from Colonel Taylor’s concerns of old to today’s perils of purchasing adulterated or counterfeit whiskey on the secondary market. It’s a shockingly good debut book and one that should be on everybody’s Holiday shopping list.”—Bourbon Banter
“Haara dusted the old dusty lawsuits and brought out our untold story buried in those lawsuits and shelved safely away from public eyes. He gives a new and fresh perspective to look at the history of the United States and bourbon. This brilliantly-written history book is written for both historians and laypeople.”—The Washington Book Review
“Unlike so many books out there that just are a bunch of poorly written reviews sandwiched between enough text to warrant a book, Bourbon Justice: How Whiskey Law Shaped America actually digs into the law cases behind Bourbon, and presents the information in a very enjoyable read… On a shelf that has too many Bourbon books on it, Brian’s book will be placed in a position of honor.”—New Bourbon Drinker
“This book certainly belongs in every American law library. However, this work goes well beyond the law; the story of Bourbon is the story of America’s history. Any reader with an interest in our past will enjoy this excellent book about a wonderful beverage that has had an important effect on our nation.”—Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Books
“In the end, you will learn something about bourbon, you will learn something about business, and you will learn something about the less talked about history that made America the country it is today. I highly recommend that you run right out and buy it.”—Bourbon Guy
On the Blog:
A Word from the Author:
Since the release of Bourbon Justice in November 2018, bourbon has been a hot topic of conversation with everyone I meet. The discussion usually involves current brands, new bourbons to try, and rock-star Master Distillers, but my hope is that Bourbon Justice may have had a small role in piquing interest in the uniquely-American history of bourbon.
Old friends and new acquaintances are surprised that the phrase “brand name” originated with bourbon and that, in the late 1800s, the federal government apparently cared less about protecting citizens from dangerous products and adulterated food than it cared about ensuring that whiskey was pure. People want to learn about bourbon history.
They’re visiting distilleries in record numbers too. Visitors to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® have skyrocketed and—in the last decade—Kentucky has gone from eight to about seventy distilleries. While the seemingly-insatiable appetite for bourbon and bourbon knowledge is striking, in the past year I’ve been perhaps even more riveted by my realization that bourbon is still at the leading edge of American commerce and law.
I had not anticipated how timely of a topic bourbon is today, both for those domestic topics and for international relations. Bourbon is playing a crucial role in the current-day trade war with counter-tariffs targeted against farmers who grow our grains and even more specifically targeted against bourbon, presumably because ninety-five percent is still made in Kentucky, a state that voted “red” and that is home of the Senate Majority Leader.
Best of all though, the past year has shown me that bourbon is not just a welcome diversion from current events, but it also provides much needed common ground. Despite plenty of room for disagreement, it’s unifying and gives us a sense of collective pride. That’s partly why bourbon is uniquely American, just like the complex experience of being American.