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Thursday, July 21 • 3:30pm - 5:00pm
Bourbon: Do The Myths Matter?

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The most successful whiskey brands realize that they’re in the storytelling business as much as the booze business. The spirits matter, but so do the stories, which create an appealing sense of history and heritage that draw people to brands. That’s why so many of the stories stretch the truth—reality doesn’t always dazzle—but does that hurt or help the industry as a whole? While the mythmaking certainly draws criticism from purists, perhaps there is an argument to be made that is a bonafide part of the industry, and has been an integral part of the business ever since the dawn of modern marketing in the nineteenth century. This seminar looks at how bourbon tales fits in with the great traditions of American mythmaking: Paul Bunyan, Johnny Appleseed, George Washington and his cherry tree. We’ll also examine whether the points where legend diverges from reality—this oft-overlooked space upends our conventional thinking about bourbon to reveal important insights about the drink and its true history.

avatar for Erick Castro

Erick Castro

Beverage Director, Possessed by Spirits
Erick Castro initially built his cocktail empire at San Francisco's Rickhouse and Bourbon & Branch by searching for obscure recipes, methods and ingredients that originated prior to Prohibition. The bartending behemoth has created unique beverage programs that have earned a place on some of the nation’s most coveted lists, including Esquire's Best Bars in America, Food & Wine’s “World’s Top Bars” and countless nominations at the... Read More →

avatar for Reid Mitenbuler

Reid Mitenbuler

Reid Mitenbuler is the author of Bourbon Empire: The Past and Future of America's Whiskey (Viking, 2015). His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Slate, Salon, and Whisky Advocate, among other publications.
avatar for Larry Rice

Larry Rice

Proprietor, The Silver Dollar
Larry Rice, a Kentucky Native has been in the Hospitality industry for over twenty years at all levels. 15 years bar tending, consulting, developing, executing bar programs and finally as a restaurateur with the help of his team, developing restaurant concepts with a heavy focus on bar programs dedicated to the craft of bar-tending, proper technique, fresh juices, house made bitters and syrups with a relentless pursuit of knowledge of the... Read More →


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