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   Issue 23, Spring 2015

Gilbert & Parsons, hygienic whiskey--for medical use. Print shows an advertisement for Gilbert & Parsons hygienic whiskey, with ornate border, farm scene, and distillery.

Distilled Spirits

This section covers whiskey, bourbon, vodka, moonshine, and other types of liquor. There are two important things to mention that are specific to distilled spirits that may help when doing research. First, is the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897 (29 Stat. 626, Comp. St. 6070 et seq.) that was passed as a reaction to adulteration among spirits and set age and bottling standard legal regulations contained (now in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 27 - Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits).

BERA - Business & Economics Research Advisor - A Quarterly Guide to Business & Economics Topics

Issue 23: Spring 2015

Alcoholic Beverage Industry: Historical Resources at the Library of Congress

Table of Contents

General Resources
Distilled Spirits
Beers, Ales, etc.
Temperance Movement & Prohibition
Print Indexes
Internet Resources
LC Catalog Searches

Image (left): Gilbert & Parsons, hygienic whiskey--for medical use. c1860
Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

Second, Prohibition had temporary and long-term effects on the industry. In the short term most business ceased though there were several distillers that were given a dispensation to continue producing for medicinal purposes under Title II sections 6 and 7 of the Volstead Act (Pub.L. 66-66, 41 Stat. 305). Some of these managed to survive Prohibition and were more quick to ramp up after repeal. These included Frankfort Distilling Company (now Four Roses) and George T. Stagg Distillery (previously O.F.C Distillery, now Buffalo Trace). Unfortunately, many were never able to reestablish business. In the long term the industry was much smaller and more concentrated after the repeal of Prohibition.

Please see the resources in the General Resources section of this guide where there are books and trade literature that provide an historical overview of the alcoholic beverage industry and are not devoted to a specific type of beverage.


      General Information & History         Market Information         Trade Literature


General Information & History

Adams, Jad. Hideous Absinthe : A History of the Devil in a Bottle. Madison, Wisconsin : University of Wisconsin Press, 2004.
LC Call Number: GT2898 .A33 2004
LC Catalog Record: 2004298266
Table of Contents

General historical overview of absinthe (AKA the green fairy) from its rise to its popularity in France, and eventual decline in the face of efforts directed at it.

Carr, Jess. The Second Oldest Profession; An Informal History of Moonshining in America. Englewood Cliffs, N.J., Prentice-Hall 1972
LC Call Number: HJ5021 .C37
LC Catalog Record: 70172277

This is an historical overview of moonshining in the United States from colonial times to the 1960's.

Downward, William L. Dictionary of the History of the American Brewing and Distilling Industries. Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1980.
LC Call Number: HD9397.U52 D68
LC Catalog Record: 79006826

Entries cover people, laws, terms, places, companies, etc. Appendices include: alcoholic beverage consumption 1790-1975, number of breweries, history of excise taxes on beer and liquor, a few lists of the largest breweries and certain years, etc.

Herlihy, Patricia. Vodka : A Global History. London : Reaktion, 2012.
LC Call Number: TP607.V6 H47 2012
LC Catalog Record: 2012429300

Since this is a book on vodka there is attention on the development and rise in Russia as well as global expansion.

Kane, Frank. Anatomy of the Whisky Business. Manhasset, N.Y., Lake House Press [1965?]
LC Call Number: HD9355 .K35
LC Catalog Record: 72002014

This is included to give an historical picture of the regulation of whiskey in the US as of 1965.

Kevin Kosar on Whiskey: A Global History. The Library of Congress. February 8, 2011. Webcast

This is a video of a Library sponsored event where Kevin Kosar, a former Library of Congress employee was speaking about his book.

McCusker, John J. Rum and the American Revolution : The Rum Trade and the Balance of Payments of the Thirteen Continental Colonies. New York : Garland Pub., 1989.
LC Call Number: E210 .M39 1989
LC Catalog Record: 89007807

This is a two volume set - volume 1 is the bulk of the written material while volume 2 is the Appendices. Volume 1 contains sections looking at the trade in rum as well as sugar. Much of the volume looks at the trade by individual colonies or spheres of influence (Spain, England, France, etc.). Specific parts include sugar, molasses/rum export from colonies, rum in the colonies, and the rum trade. Volume 2 includes: population estimates of the colonies from 1650-1775; weights and measures; imports and re-exports of sugar, molasses, and rum; an exchange rates discussion; wholesale price charts from the mid-17th century to the late 18th century. Many of the appendices have tables but a few are predominantly written explanations. The imports/re-exports and wholesale price section have a rather extensive note section specific to the creation of that appendix. There is also an extensive bibliography.

McCusker, John J. "The Rum Trade and the Balance of Payments of the Thirteen Continental Colonies, 1650-1775." The Journal of Economic History, vol. 30, no. 1, The Tasks of Economic History, (Mar. 1970): 244-247.

Minnick, Fred. Whiskey Women : The Untold Story of How Women Saved Bourbon, Scotch, and Irish Whiskey. [Dulles, Virginia] : Potomac Books, an imprint of the University of Nebraska Press, [2013]
LC Call Number: HD9395.A2 M56 2013 OVERFLOWA5S
LC Catalog Record: 2013024346

Women have long distilled, marketed, and owned spirits companies and founded many brands, including Bushmills, Laphroaig, and Maker's Mark.

Nelson, Derek. Moonshiners, Bootleggers & Rumrunners. Osceola, WI : Motorbooks International, 1995.
LC Call Number: HJ5021 .N44 1995
LC Catalog Record: 95005913

Contains historical information as well as a significant amount of pictures. Presents the history and organization/structure of bootlegging and moonshiners. There are also stories of people and places and government actions. Very pictorial.

Pokhlebkin, William. History of Vodka. Translated by Renfrey Clarke. London ; New York : Verso, 1992.
LC Call Number: TP607.V6 P6513 1992
LC Catalog Record: 93136585

As this is a history of vodka, a considerable amount of time is spent on the development and growth of vodka in Russia. The author breaks the chapters down into time periods - 14th and 19th centuries as well as having one on the 15th-19th century terminology.

Spivak, Mark. Iconic Spirits : An Intoxicating History. Guilford, Connecticut : Lyons Press, an imprint of Globe Pequot Press, [2012]
LC Call Number: TP590.5 .S65 2012
LC Catalog Record: 2012034093

This is an historical overview of the rise of the spirits, cocktail and the cocktail culture. It does look at the people and stories including the moonshiners and the rise of NASCAR.

Veach, Michael R. Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey : An American Heritage. The University Press of Kentucky, 2013.
LC Call Number: TP605 .V43 2013
LC Catalog Record: 2012051376

This looks at the origins of the industry in the U.S. and goes forward in time though the 19th century, to Temperance and Prohibition, and the rise in the 20th century.

William, Ian. Rum : A Social and Sociable History of the Real Spirit of 1776. New York : Nation Books, c2005.
LC Call Number: TP607.R9 W55 2005
LC Catalog Record: 2005284630
Publisher Description

This book is more a historical picture of rum in the U.S. as well as Caribbean.

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Market Information

Blue Book. New York : Beverage Media
LC Call Number: HD9352 .B4
LC Catalog Record: 51038397

Holdings 1951-1982. This title provides data, directory, and other information for retailers in the state of New York.

Bonfort's Wine and Spirit Trade Directory. New York, Leoser Bros. & Gilmore, 1909-
LC Call Number: HD9353.B7
LC Catalog Record: 09030275

Holdings 1885, 1909/10, 1911/12, 1913/14, 1914/15, 1917. One 1875 reprint under the call number HD9353.B6a. Listing of retail establishments by location.

Biles' Whiskey Price List. [Cincinnati, J. W. Biles & co., etc.] 1895-
LC Call Number: HD9395.A1 B6
LC Catalog Record: ca06001318

Holdings 1895-1910. Some general charts on tax/price information specific to bourbon and rye. Most of the publication is a listing of price and state/local tax rate by brand.

The Liquor Handbook. [Duluth, Davidson Pub. Co.] [n.d.]
LC Call Number: HD9352.L5
LC Catalog Record: 86641307

Holdings: 1960-1994. Becomes Jobson's Liquor Handbook. Includes national trends/data as well as statistics and market data for spirit, by spirit. Also has distillery operations data and other related information and data.

Liquor Industry and its Markets. [New York, Jobson Pub. Corp.]
LC Call Number: HD9351 .L56
LC Catalog Record: 78647152

Holdings 1974-1995. This title is also known as Jobson's Liquor Industry Marketing, Jobson's Wine & Spirits Industry Marketing, and Liquor Industry Marketing. This is mostly articles and data relating to marking. Also, includes company information.

Trends in the Wines and Spirits Trade. [Washington]: United States Bureau of the Census, [n.d.]
LC Call Number: HD9354.A32
LC Catalog Record: 56033151

Holdings 1948-1953. The format is more newsletter and includes wholesale, retail, and imports information. Wholesale and retail data is often presented by state and state/city though not all states are necessarily covered.

U.S. Spirits Market : Impact Databank Review and Forecast. New York, N.Y. : M. Shanken Communications, c1999-
LC Call Number: HD9390.U6 I47
LC Catalog Record: 00257003

Holdings 1978-1992. Previous title U.S. Distilled Spirits Market. Includes information on the distilled spirits industry and market. It includes consumption information, projections, the international market, demographic information, and data by state and type. There is advertising expenditure and retail sales and expenditure data. There is listing of the leading distillers and brand analysis. The publication changed a bit and beginning in 1990 was bigger and more extensive.

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Trade Literature

Bonfort's Wine & Spirit Circular. New York, P. Bonfort [etc.] 1871-
LC Call Number: TP500 .B7
LC Catalog Record: ca08002691

Holdings 1871-1919 with a bound index for that volume included. General news on companies, people, industry, and equipment/supplies. Ran regular quarterly charts on imports as well as regularly featuring financial/statistical information on companies. Included are news on companies as well as price information for product by company and then by product. This does have some international coverage. Some years of this title can be found in the American Periodicals database from ProQuest.

Brown's Wine and Spirits. LC Call Number: TP500 .B13

Holdings 1933-34. This was a short lived publication that started after prohibition and eventually combined with Mida's Criterion. The 1933 issues included much about the state of the industry after Prohibition. Most of the articles were news the industry would have been interested in including articles on the people, companies, equipment/supplies, industry, and management oriented topics. The December 1933 included a pull out process flow-chart of the distilling process as well as a summary of federal liquor tax data from 1871-1933. Other statistics that were published in that included statistics on illegal wine production and an estimate of illegal liquor production for 1930.
No catalog record for this title.

Mida's Criterion. [New York, Gillette company; etc., etc., -41]
LC Call Number: TP500 .M6
LC Catalog Record: 45048323

Holdings: 1901-1941 with no holdings between 1917 and 1932. This was a publication geared to distillers. Articles and advertisements were of distilleries and the equipment/supplies that they may have needed. Articles were on the people and companies as well as state of the industry. This publication is heavy on the advertisements which often included seals/logs of the company as well as illustrations of the plants themselves. A regular feature were lists with address of the distillers. Does regularly include tax collection data and production often by type, by district/type, by state. Good articles focusing on specific states. There is a collection in each bound volume of pink sheets which were generally about trademarks. One section were those "registered' with Mida's, one on those that were refused, and one that focused on those registered with the Patent office.

Spirits. New York, Liquor Publications. [n.d.]
LC Call Number: TP500 .S573
LC Catalog Record: 44052140

Holdings 1933-1962. This has includes articles on people, companies, equipment, process, and management.

Last updated: 03/26/2015

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  April 2, 2015
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