The Book

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Cover Image Bourbon EmpireBourbon Empire: The Past and Future of America’s Whiskey will be published May 2015 by Viking.

Unraveling the many myths and misconceptions surrounding America’s most iconic spirit, Bourbon Empire traces a history that spans frontier rebellion, Gilded Age corruption, and the magic of Madison Avenue. Whiskey has profoundly influenced America’s political, economic, and cultural destiny, just as those same factors have inspired the evolution and unique flavor of the whiskey itself.

Taking readers behind the curtain of an enchanting—and sometimes exasperating—industry, the work of writer Reid Mitenbuler crackles with attitude and commentary about taste, choice, and history. Few products better embody the United States, or American business, than bourbon.

A tale of innovation, success, downfall, and resurrection, Bourbon Empire is an exploration of the spirit in all its unique forms, creating an indelible portrait of both bourbon and the people who make it.

Advance Praise

Bourbon Empire is a lively, rowdy tale of swindlers and smugglers, connoisseurs and craftsmen. Reid Mitenbuler is a talented storyteller whose wide-ranging curiosity takes us to Civil War battlefields and prison cells as well as cornfields and world-famous distilleries. Truly fascinating, and a must-read for whiskey lovers!”—Amy Stewart, author of The Drunken Botanist
 
Bourbon Empire is more than just whiskey history. Mitenbuler demonstrates, with clear, witty and incisive prose, how the drink shaped, and was shaped by, the history of American capitalism society. It is a book that whiskey fans, historians and students of American business will enjoy, and learn much from.”—Clay Risen, staff editor, The New York Times and author of American Whiskey, Bourbon & Rye

“A must have for every bourbon enthusiast from beginner to expert. A book that finally tells the true story of our beloved bourbon, putting in perspective its important role in American history. Bourbon Empire has it all, demystifying the good, the bad and the ugly.”—Sean Brock, Chef/Partner of McCrady’s and Husk
 
“In finding the facts behind some of bourbon’s most cherished fables, Mitenbuler has unearthed true tales that are even better than the tall tales. A fresh look at stories we thought we knew.”—Lew Bryson, managing editor, Whisky Advocate and author of Tasting Whiskey 

“Reid manages to juggle his skepticism and enthusiasm in this carefully researched and lovingly written history of America’s spirit. He peels back layer after layer of filigree, searching for the real story, which is as much the story of American business, politics, advertising, and immigration as it is the story of bourbon.”—Max Watman, author of Harvest and Chasing the White Dog

One thought on “The Book

  1. You know, this really is a terrific book! I really enjoyed it and found it completely riveting. While I’ve been mostly a beer and wine guy (and grow wine grapes as a hobby) until recently, this book really helped me better appreciate the history and science of bourdon. In fact, it inspired my wife and I to host a large dinner party in a few weeks that features bourdon inspired dishes throughout the meal and to assign this book to our many guests as required reading! I also told them that they should be prepared for a quiz as well.

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