“Pulls aside the curtain of puffery to show . . . the business of liquor to be every bit as fascinating as the fictions in which the distillers love to swaddle themselves.” —Wayne Curtis, The Wall Street Journal
Walk into a well-stocked liquor store and you’ll see countless whiskey brands, each boasting an inspiring story of independence and heritage. And yet, more than 95% of the nation’s whiskey comes from a small handful of giant companies with links to organized crime, political controversy, and a colorful history that is far different than what appears on modern labels. In Bourbon Empire, Reid Mitenbuler shows how bourbon, America’s most iconic style of whiskey, and the industry surrounding it, really came to be—a saga of shrewd capitalism as well as dedicated craftsmanship.
Mitenbuler traces the big names—Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Evan Williams, and more—back to their origins, exploring bourbon’s founding myths and great successes against the backdrop of America’s economic history. Illusion is separated from reality in a tale reaching back to the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794, when the ideologies of Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton battled to define the soul of American business. That debate continues today, punctuated along the way by Prohibition-era bootleggers, the liquor-fueled origins of NASCAR, intense consolidation driven by savvy lobbying, and a Madison Avenue plot to release five thousand parrots—trained to screech the name of a popular brand—into the nation’s bars.
Today, the whiskey business takes a new turn as a nascent craft distilling movement offers the potential to revolutionize the industry once again. But, as Mitenbuler shows, many take advantage of this excitement while employing questionable business practices, either by masquerading whiskey made elsewhere as their own or by shortcutting the proven production standards that made many historic brands great to begin with.
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 American whiskey and the people who make it.
Our beautifully designed products provide a unique aesthetic conveying a story of personal significance. From night sky views to hometown streets, our gifts are etched with precision, personalization, and care.
Our drinkware and accessories bring personalized gifting to a whole new level. You can create the perfect gift featuring a map of any U.S. town, city, or over 1,000 topographic locations around the world. Go on, be a gifting rock star.
Celebrate all moments. Cheers to meaningful, personalized products that tell a story and can turn everyday moments into lasting memories.
A high-quality glass makes every sip a special occasion. Whether it’s a rocks glass, pint glass, or champagne flute, our products are made with premium, high-quality glass designed to last.
Every product is meticulously designed and etched with the utmost pride, care, and craftsmanship.
Our products reflect your personal story. We want to add meaning and enhance the value of the items you use every day. Our drinkware, gifts, and accessories turn any moment into a truly inspired experience.