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.
Veach reveals the true story of bourbon in Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey: An American Heritage (ISBN: 978-0813141657, $24.95, The University Press of Kentucky). 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.
The book is available at Louisville area Barnes and Noble and Carmichael's bookstores, The Filson Historical Society and online at Amazon.com.
A staff member at The Filson Historical Society since 1997, Michael Veach has spent almost two decades sifting through the personal papers of bourbon's royal families and studying the distilling industry and culture of the time to clear up mysteries, dispel myths and answer any hows and whys that might catch his imagination. His career began, as a graduate student studying medieval history when he accepted an internship with United Distillers.
In 2006, he was inducted into the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame. Since 2009, Veach has taught numerous Filson Bourbon Academies - an all-day history and tasting lesson that parallels his book Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey: An American Heritage - in both Louisville and select cities around the United States. Veach is currently work on a tasting book with Louisvillian and former Courier-Journal journalist Susan Reigler.
The Filson Historical Society was founded in 1884 and is Kentucky's oldest privately supported historical society, named after Kentucky's first historian John Filson. With documents, books and historic photographs of Louisville, Kentucky and the area's bourbon industry, thousands of people visit annually to conduct research, attend nearly 100 programs, scholarly conferences and lectures and tour The Filson's headquarters building, the Ferguson Mansion (1310 S. Third St, Louisville, KY 40208, 502-635-5083), and museum in Old Louisville.
To request The Official Guide to Bourbon Country or learn more about Bourbon Country visit www.bourboncountry.com.
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