Bourbon Justice


Bourbon Justice

How Whiskey Law Shaped America

Brian F. Haara
Foreword by Fred Minnick

204 pages
1 photograph, 23 illustrations, 1 table, 31 sidebars, index


July 2021


$19.95 Add to Cart

November 2018


$34.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

November 2018


$19.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)

November 2018


$19.95 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, legal writer, and attorney. He writes about bourbon history and law on his blog Sipp’n Corn and was featured in the documentary Straight Up: Kentucky Bourbon. For more information about the author visit 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).


"This book tracks the history of bourbon and bourbon law and uses it as the base for growth of the United States as a nation. Beginning in the frontier through the restless entrepreneurial boon of the spirit, bourbon is responsible for many areas of law, such as trademark, breach of contract, fraud, governmental regulation and taxation, and consumer protection. More than just the history of a spirit, Bourbon Justice tells a part of the larger American story."—New Worlder

"Bourbon Justice: How Whiskey Law Shaped America actually digs into the law cases behind Bourbon, and presents the information in a very enjoyable read.  Who knew that reading about law cases could actually be interesting?"—New Bourbon Drinker

"You've certainly read about landmark bourbon citations including the Bottled-In-Bond Act, the Taft Decision and others. But nobody until now has put them in their rightful historical context. Haara's crowning achievement with Bourbon Justice is to emphasize bourbon's true impact on the future of American business."—Brett Atlas, Bourbon and Banter

"Brian Haara tells us the fascinating story of how many very litigious bourbon folks ended up, often accidentally, crafting a new and different American commercial society that is still with us today. Lawsuits that started with bourbon ended up affecting industries as far reaching as women's lingerie and mouthwash."—Eric Burke, Bourbon Guy

"Bourbon Justice follows the growth of bourbon whiskey through the lawsuits that shaped it, but also conversely addresses how bourbon, one of America's first "branded" products, shaped American law. . . This is not just another "Bourbon 101" book, it's for those who really crave knowledge about how bourbon "grew up" with America and is inexorably intertwined with our legal system today. . . . This book is the authority on how bourbon law shaped America."—Bill Straub, Modern Thirst

"Bourbon Justice is a very revealing book. It tracks the history of bourbon and how it shaped America's commercial law. . . . Haara dusted the old dusty lawsuits and brought out our untold story buried in those lawsuits and shelved safely away from public eyes. He gives a new and fresh perspective to look at the history of the United States and bourbon. This brilliantly-written history book is written for both historians and laypeople. Haara has made reading law and history enjoyable."—Washington Book Review

"Haara draws on many examples and stories to provide a narrative both educational and entertaining. Highlights include the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897 (the first instance of federal consumer protection legislation); the 1936 case of Churchill Downs Distilling Co v. Churchill Downs Inc., which established rights to protect trademarks against use by others in different industries; and more recent litigation involving the Maker's Mark red-dripping-wax seal. . . . If you are a fan of legal history (or a fan of bourbon), I recommend this book."—Chris Liro, Wisconsin Lawyer

"[An] impeccably researched and sharply observed volume."—Bench & Bar

"This admirable book will be a valuable addition for any whiskey enthusiast, but it will also be a fine read for anyone with a serious interest in American history."—Susan Reigler, Leo Weekly

"A thoroughly enjoyable read, and a bourbon book that is definitely unique."—Mike Gerrard, Travel Distilled

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    

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