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Alcoholic Beverage Industry

Distilled Spirits

Gilbert & Parsons, hygienic whiskey--for medical use. 1860. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

This section covers whiskey, bourbon, vodka, moonshine, and other similar 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).

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 allowed to continue producing for medicinal purposes under Title II sections 6 and 7 of the Volstead Act. Some of these managed to survive Prohibition and were more quick to ramp up after repeal but unfortunately, many were never able to reestablish themselves. In the long term the industry was much smaller and more concentrated after the repeal of Prohibition though the 21st century has seen growth.

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. You may also want to consider searching sources like the Internet Archive and HathiTrust for additional materials. For example, HathiTrust has Cozzens' Wine Press (v. 1-6) for the years 1854-60 that had been digitized by the University of California and the Wine & Spirit Bulletin for the years 1901-1906, 1908 and 1914-17.

General Information & History

The following materials from the Library's collections focus on distilled spirits. The following materials link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to digital content are provided when available.

Market Data & Trade Literature

The resources here are for those looking to understand the market. The focus are directories and sources with company/brewery names as well as annual overviews and literature for those in the industry.

Search the Library's Catalog

Choose the topics you wish to browse from the selected subject headings below. Each heading will link directly to the Library of Congress Online Catalog and automatically execute a search allowing you to browse related subject headings. There are additional subject headings for the industry and history in individual states and countries that have their own subject headings and may be important if the industry dominated a state or local history and economy. For example, Kentucky and Tennessee for Bourbon and Whiskey respectively. Please be aware that during periods of heavy use you may encounter delays in using the catalog. For assistance in locating other subject headings which relate to this subject, please Ask A Librarian.