Sunday, August 17, 2014

Confused About American Whiskey? The Answers Are Here

A lot has been written in the last week or so about deceptive packaging and deceptive marketing of American whiskey. It started with Eric Felten in the Daily Beast with, "Your ‘Craft’ Rye Whiskey Is Probably From a Factory Distillery in Indiana." That article has been widely re-posted and commented upon. It also brought some new attention to the piece Wayne Curtis wrote for The Atlantic back in May, "Has Craft Distilling Lost Its Spirit?"

The media isn't just writing about the Potemkin Distilleries and other fakers. Just today, Bruce Schreiner has a good story going out on AP that you'll probably see in your hometown newspaper or your favorite online aggregator tomorrow, "Bourbon Production Reaches High Point Since Seventies."

I'm a fan of all three writers and they all did a good job with their articles, but if you're interested in the real facts about bourbon, rye, Tennessee, and other American whiskey, I have two extremely self-serving suggestions for you. (Some commenters have accused me of being self-serving like that's a bad thing.)

First, what is depicted above, a group of devoted whiskey enthusiasts having the time of their lives (just ask them) on the inaugural "Chuck Cowdery VIP Bourbon & History Tour Experience" in March. My tour specializes in the truth because I don't work for any of the distilleries, I work for you. I'll even tell you what the tour guides got wrong during our 'official' distillery tours. (I won't tell you during the tour because that wouldn't be polite.)

Specifically, the picture above is of our visit to the grave of Dr. James C. Crow, the Father of Modern Bourbon.

Book now. The tour is October 15-17 but the deadline to sign up is September 1, or when we fill the bus, whichever comes first! To start the ball rolling, call Mint Julep Tours at 502-583-1433 or email I think Chasta is out West rock climbing at the moment, but I'm sure somebody at Mint Julep will be able to help you. I suggest you call them first thing Monday morning.

Second, you can read my new book, Bourbon, Strange; Surprising Stories of American Whiskey. I guarantee there is truth on every page. The producers have their multi-million dollar advertising campaigns to tell their stories and a lot of them are just that, stories, i.e., fiction. Most of it is just a bit of fun, but some is deliberately deceptive. In Bourbon, Strange, I've done the best job I can of giving you the true stories. Best of all, they are in most cases a lot more fun than the fiction.

Mark Gillespie was nice enough to interview me about the book for WhiskeyCast. Part one of that interview is available now. At least it started out being about the book. We mostly talked about all of the other crazy stuff that's going on. Thanks for the practice, Mark. I'll try to do a better job selling my product next time. Part two will be in the next program, but that's already recorded and I think I got even crazier.

You can read the Kindle edition of Bourbon, Strange right now. Or you can wait a couple weeks and get the print version right here (well, a little bit to the right and toward the top). If you order it here on the blog, I'll sign it for you if you want. (Write the inscription you want on the order form where it says 'inscription.')

Or you can pre-order it from Amazon. And since we're telling the truth here, Amazon will usually sell it to you for less than I will.


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Chuck - I'll keep my eyes peeled for the print copy on your site. Amazon doesn't need any extra $$$ :-O

ezweave said...

Kindle copy acquired. I'll read it after work. Probably all in one go, too, haha.

Harry said...

Got the BStrange on my Kindle to go with my BStraight (which I access from time to time in strange stores with strange labels on the shelves). Good news is I'm retired so I can read all night.

scott said...

Good news! Been waiting for a sequel to my favorite bourbon book.
Can't wait to get the old fashioned print edition!

scott said...

Also, I joined Chuck's inaugral tour last spring and loved it. Had a great time, learned a lot, and met some cool people. Highly recommend it!

Anonymous said...

Any chance of getting this book onto Apple iBooks?

I bought the first one from Amazon, cracked the DRM, and converted it to ePub, but that’s not exactly optimal and results in a few (minor) formatting issues.

Chuck Cowdery said...

I'll try. I found it pretty daunting.

Chuck Cowdery said...

You can also just get the Kindle app for your Apple device.

Anonymous said...

Using the Kindle app on the iPad means my books are now split between two different apps. One app for these books, one app for those. While that works, it’s sub-optimal.

Since Apple’s app is the one that uses the standard ebook format (and thus can read books bought from many different publishers, not just from Apple), and because it’s quite nice, I prefer to use that one for my library.

Anonymous said...

Actually, if the daunting part is getting it onto Apple’s store, not creating the file itself... I guess what I’m really asking for is the book in ePub format. It’s not especially important who actually sells it. :)

Chuck Cowdery said...

I promise to revisit it with this book, but the last time I looked into it I found the conversion to the ePub format daunting, while the conversion from MS Word (in which the book was created) to Kindle could not be simpler.