Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Author Fred Minnick Discovers the Untold Stories of the Women of Whiskey (Including in Tennessee)

Posted By on Wed, Oct 30, 2013 at 1:33 PM

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Did you know that George Dickel whiskey, as we know it (and drink it) today is all thanks to a woman? At least that’s the case as whiskey expert Fred Minnick explains it: In 1894 when George Dickel passed away, his wife Augusta ignored her late husband’s wish that she sell his share in George A. Dickel & Co. Instead she kept it in the family, passing it to her brother-in-law when she died. And Minnick asks, “Would George Dickel still be around today if Augusta Dickel hadn’t done that?”

Minnick is the author of Whiskey Women: The Untold Story of How Women Saved Bourbon, Scotch & Irish Whiskey (2013, $26.95), a new book from Potomac Books, an imprint of the University of Nebraska Press.

While Minnick is based in Louisville, Ky., he has a healthy appreciation for Tennessee whiskey (he calls Corsair Distillery “one of the most innovative distilleries in the country”) and for the women who have played important roles in the craft of alcoholic beverages, starting with Mesopotamian women who made beer in 4,000 B.C.

From Augusta Dickel’s shrewd business move, to the American women who were enlisted to bottle the spirit because they were “more nimble and less clumsy” than men, to the female mind behind the Maker’s Mark red-wax bottle seal, Minnick wrote his new 232-page book because he wanted thought the contributions of such whiskey women deserved their due.

“There were all these headlines and comments like, ‘Wow, women drink whiskey, too.’ And women have been around whiskey all along. I thought it was sexist,” he says.

Minnick thinks the fairer sex will have the proof (pun intended) that they are being taken seriously when a whiskey is named after one of them, just like Jim Beam, Jack Daniels or Johnnie Walker.

For now, though, Minnick is on a book tour, telling tall tales about bootlegging and distilling and sharing tasting notes. He’ll do so locally on Nov. 7, at the West Nashville Costco, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and again at the Brentwood Costco store, Nov. 8, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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