Bourbon Justice

Bourbon Justice

How Whiskey Law Shaped America

Brian F. Haara
Foreword by Fred Minnick

200 pages
11 photographs, 13 illustrations, 1 table, 31 sidebars, index


November 2018


$26.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Bourbon whiskey has made a surprising contribution to American legal history. Tracking the history of bourbon and bourbon law illuminates the development of the United States as a nation, from conquering the wild frontier to rugged individualism to fostering the entrepreneurial spirit to solidifying itself as a nation of laws. Bourbon is responsible for the growth and maturation of many substantive areas of the law, such as trademark, breach of contract, fraud, governmental regulation and taxation, and consumer protection. In Bourbon Justice Brian Haara delves into the legal history behind one of America’s most treasured spirits to uncover a past fraught with lawsuits whose outcome, surprisingly perhaps, helped define a nation.

Approaching the history of bourbon from a legal standpoint, Haara tells the history of America through the development of commercial laws that guided our nation from an often reckless laissez-faire mentality, through the growing pains of industrialization, and past the overcorrection of Prohibition. More than just true bourbon history, this is part of the American story.

Author Bio

Brian Haara is a public speaker and legal writer, and he practices law as co-managing partner of Tachau Meek PLC, a business litigation firm. He writes about bourbon history and law on his blog Sipp’n Corn and was featured in the documentary Straight Up: Kentucky Bourbon. Fred Minnick is a former U.S. Army journalist who now writes about the spirits industry. He is the author of Whiskey Women: The Untold Story of How Women Saved Bourbon, Scotch, and Irish Whiskey (Potomac Books, 2013).


Bourbon Justice uses a groundbreaking approach to tell the history of the bourbon industry—the lawsuits that provide the true origin stories of famous brands. I believe this book will quickly become a classic work in the field of bourbon history and of distilled spirits as a whole.”—Michael Veach, bourbon historian, scholar, and author of Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey: An American Heritage

“I teach people all over the world that words on an American whiskey label mean something. Brian Haara brings to life the laws like the Bottled in Bond Act of 1897 that make American whiskey so spectacular. I can’t get enough!”—Bernie Lubbers, American whiskey ambassador for Heaven Hill Distillery and author of Bourbon Whiskey: Our Native Spirit 

“The subtle, dry wit of Haara’s book makes a crisp argument. It turns out that dusty lawsuits are a perfect way to explore the heritage of both our nation and its spirit.”—Reid Mitenbuler, author of Bourbon Empire: The Past and Future of America’s Whiskey

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations    
Foreword, by Fred Minnick    
Chapter 1. Bourbon History Tells the Story of American History    
Chapter 2. American Law Defines Bourbon    
Chapter 3. Bourbon Drives the Development of Trademark and Brand Name Rights    
Chapter 4. Old Crow Provides the Most Comprehensive Trade Name Case Study    
Chapter 5. Bourbon Expands Trade Name Rights    
Chapter 6. Bourbon Marketers Write the Book on Puffery and Exaggeration    
Chapter 7. Bourbon Leads the Nation to Consumer Protection    
Chapter 8. Bourbon Tells the Behind-the-Scenes Story of Prohibition    
Chapter 9. Bourbon Law Reins in Fake Distillers and Secret Sourcing    
Chapter 10. Bourbon Drives Truth in Labeling    
Table of Authorities    

Also of Interest