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Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey: An American Heritage

by Michael R. Veach

Availablecloth$24.95 978-0-8131-4165-7
160 pages  Pubdate: 03/22/2013  6 x 9  27 b&w photos

On May 4, 1964, Congress designated bourbon as a distinctive product of the United States, and it remains the only spirit produced in this country to enjoy such protection. Its history stretches back almost to the founding of the nation and includes many colorful characters, both well known and obscure, from the hatchet-wielding prohibitionist Carry Nation to George Garvin Brown, who in 1872 created Old Forester, the first bourbon to be sold only by the bottle. Although obscured by myth, the history of bourbon reflects the history of our nation.

Historian Michael R. Veach reveals the true story of bourbon in Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey. Starting with the Whiskey Rebellion of the 1790s, he traces the history of this unique beverage through the Industrial Revolution, the Civil War, Prohibition, the Great Depression, and up to the present. Veach explores aspects of bourbon that have been ignored by others, including the technology behind its production, the effects of the Pure Food and Drug Act, and how Prohibition contributed to the Great Depression. The myths surrounding bourbon are legion, but Veach separates fact from legend. While the true origin of the spirit may never be known for certain, he proposes a compelling new theory.

With the explosion of super-premium bourbons and craft distilleries and the establishment of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, interest in bourbon has never been higher. Veach shines a light on its pivotal place in our national heritage, presenting the most complete and wide-ranging history of bourbon available.

Michael R. Veach is associate curator of Special Collections at the Filson Historical Society. He is a bourbon historian and a member of the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame.

Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey adds significant new information to our understanding of the history of the Kentucky whiskey industry. -- Charles Cowdery, author of Bourbon, Straight: The Uncut and Unfiltered Story of American Whiskey

Historian Michael R. Veach has done the research necessary for a factual but readable history of Kentucky Bourbon. He has crafted it into a storyteller’s envy that is both enjoyable and well told. -- Al Young, Brand Ambassador, Four Roses Bourbon and author of Four Roses: The Return of a Whiskey Legend

Manages to make the history of Bourbon entertaining while providing plenty of insight into how the spirit has gone from lowbrow to top-shelf...A must-read for any Bourbon lover. -- Wine & Spirits

[...] the book to to add to your whiskey library if you can only choose one this year. --

If you haven't had the pleasure of attending the [Bourbon] Academy, I encourage you to enroll. Until then, reading Mike's book is a close aproximation. This is no dry historical tome (pun intended). Like the Academy, the book takes you on a fascinating journey from the Whiskey Rebellion of the 1790s to the bourbon boom of today, commandingly demonstrating the spirit's inexorable tie to the history of Kentucky. Each chapter is a fine mix of conversational narrative, historic documents and photos, and pull-out boxes of trivia. -- Bourban Babe -- Bourbon Babe Tumblr

The text highlights often over-looked aspects of the industry, such as the technology behind the spirit's production--and includes a few of Veach's own theories that may even surprise bourbon afficionados. -- Smithsonian Magazine

Veach's factual interpretations and possible explanations for myths are quite welcome on a topic with so few other experts... Veach is without question an expert on bourbon whiskey...This book is certainly accessible to a general audience, and is a quick and hearty read for those interested in the history of American whiskey...any library interested in collecting Kentucky history, or Appalachia and the American South more broadly, may also find this text valuable. -- Tennessee Libraries

Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey...does more than tell the hisotry of Kentucky bourbon...Veach's concise history will appeal to popular readers, those consumers who enjoy craft bourbon and whiskey tourism. Teachers of United States history will also find much to like about this book. -- Ohio Valley History

Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey: An American Heritage, by Michael R. Veach (University Press of Kentucky), is a masterpiece by one of the country’s top Bourbon authorities that merits a prominent place in dad’s library. -- Stone Mountain Lithonia Patch