First off is Clay Risen, a Nashville native who works as an editor at The New York Times and whose work has appeared in The New Republic, Smithsonian, and The New York Times Sunday Magazine. Risen says his book American Whiskey, Bourbon & Rye is "the only guidebook devoted solely to U.S.-made whiskey, rye, and bourbon," so you might need one of these on your home bookshelf.
Risen will be signing copies at Barista Parlor in East Nashville this Friday October 25 from 7 pm - 9 pm. You can buy a ticket here for $35 which includes a copy of the handsome book, or just $15 to hear Clay speak about whiskey and experience a tasting of Tennessee and Kentucky whiskies.
On hand will be Angel's Envy (bourbon and a cocktail), Collier and McKeel (Tennessee whiskey), Corsair (three samples) and Prichard's (five samples).
Proceeds go to support Humanities Tennessee, a very worthy cause.
The other visitor is Fred Minnick, a spirits writer and photographer out of Louisville who has written a book titled Whiskey Women: The Untold Story of How Women Saved Bourbon, Scotch & Irish Whiskey. I've been lucky enough to spend some time with Fred at a few whiskey events, and he is a fascinating speaker with a voluminous knowledge of whiskey history. And most importantly, (as he'll readily tell you himself) he wears an ascot. Hey, it worked for that other Fred on Scooby Doo...
Whiskey Fred is an acclaimed spirits writer with work published on lots of blogs, in national magazines and recently in USA Today. He also wrote an account of his experiences as a photojournalist in Iraq which made the New York Times bestseller list. His latest book recounts the role of women behind the scenes of the good old boys club that is the whiskey industry. According to Minnick, "Women have long distilled, marketed, and owned spirits companies. These strong women built many iconic brands, including Bushmills, Laphroaig, and Maker’s Mark." Women were among the first brewers in Mesopotamia and the toughest bootleggers during Prohibition.
Fred will be signing copies of his books at two Costco locations: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 7 in West Nashville and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 8 in Brentwood. Let's be honest, he'll probably have plenty of time to talk with you about whiskey in between visits from folks looking for the barrels of maple syrup or cases of frozen chicken breasts, so drop by, buy a book and keep him company. I think you'll find him a very interesting character who will teach you something new.