Skip to main content

Q&A: Fred Minnick, author of Whiskey Women

Good news, whiskey lovers! Book 26 of 52: Whiskey Women is now out, as is my review in American Way magazine. Promotion has been a whirlwind for author Fred Minnick, who took time out of his busy schedule, which also includes preparing for the birth of his son, to answer a few questions. Ever wonder what it's like to do a book signing at Costco? Read on.

JAM: According to the wordsmith Beyonce, girls run the world. Tell us how that's true in whiskey today.
FM: Today, women are the CEOs, CFOs, marketers, blenders, distillers and owners of many whiskey brands. They are running every aspect of the whiskey industry. And the funny thing is, they’ve always been in the thick of the whiskey business.

JAM: So women have been in charge for some time...
FM: Women have always been a part of whiskey. Even before whiskey was coined as such, Sumerian women invented beer and Mesopotamian women invented distillation. When we get into the brands we see on shelves today, women once owned Bushmills, Cardow (Cardhu), Dalmore, Laphroaig, Tullamore Dew and many others. A woman invented the packaging for Maker’s Mark, which redefined liquor packaging strategies. So, women have been making important business decisions for whiskey brands for a long, long time. It’s only now that they’re finally receiving credit.

JAM: I know you love whiskey - how did you come to this angle for your book?
FM: I was at the Bourbon Women’s founding meeting, and they were talking about women being the first distillers. As a whiskey writer, I had never heard this, so I started looking into it and realized that women were not only distilling at home, but they were crucial to the modern success of whiskey. I had to write this book after I discovered how important women have always been. It was my chance to give many forgotten women, even the bootleggers, the credit the men have always taken.

JAM: What's it like signing books in Costco?
FM: Talk about an experience! One minute a man is knocking over my sign, the next another guy is scratching his butt in front of my table while sorting through cheeses. Old ladies laughed at me when I told them my title was Whiskey Women, and Mormons tried to give me their Book of Mormon. My favorite line: "I’ve never heard of your book because I’m Canadian." The guy walked across three aisles to pick up my book and tell me that. Weird. But, I sold a lot of books, and I recommend a Costco signing to all authors. You just don’t know what people wills say to you.

JAM: What's next for Fred Minnick?
FM: Well, I don’t know right now professionally. My literary agent, Linda Konner, and I have discussed a few potential projects, but no contracts yet. Personally, my wife and I are expecting our first child soon and I’m really gearing up to be a dad. I can’t wait.


Popular posts from this blog

Book 12 of 52: Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi

Marjane Satrapi is an author and graphic novelist who grew up in Iran and, as a tween and teen, lived in the country through  the Iranian Revolution before her parents sent her to Europe for school, and for her safety.  As an adult, she wrote Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood ,  a nonfiction graphic novel, originally in French. I read the English translation, which was published in 2003, three years after the original. It was a critical success, won a slew of awards, and became a movie . I haven't read the sequel, Persepolis 2 , but I hope to (you can also  buy them in a set . I found Persepolis  in a Little Free Library, or I'd have bought them combined).  In the tradition of Art Spiegelman's  Maus , which is about the author's father talking to him about the Holocaust,  Persepolis  is a memoir of trauma told through a mix of images and words that when combined, combust into powerful, beautiful and soul cracking art.  For example, Satrapi portrays the 1978 Cinema R

Book 23 of 52: Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn

More romance? Of course! The world is on fire, and I can't ingest all the fires all the time. Sometimes I want to turn to genre fiction as an escape, even if an escape is into a patriarchal society where it's SCANDAL that a woman sometimes, when riding a horse, wears pants. Because of Miss Bridgerton is the first book in Julia Quinn's Rokesbys Series , which are prequels to her enormously popular  Bridgerton Series  (and now a  Netflix show ). These books are similar, of course, but instead being set in the Recency era of the 1810s, these books take place at the same time as the American Revolution (though still in England).  Here we meet Sybilla "Bille" Bridergton, who is stuck on the roof of a building because she chased a cat up there. She climbed up herself (scandalous woman!) but also twisted her ankle in the process, which is why she needs help to get down.  That help comes from George Rokesby. Their families are neighbors, and they've known each other

Book 26 of 52: The Palace Papers: Inside the House of Windsor — the Truth and the Turmoil by Tina Brown

I'm not going to write a long review of Tina Brown's The Palace Papers: Inside the House of Windsor — the Truth and the Turmoil  for two reasons. First, it's been hashed to death already, as anything about the royals is, by people who are far more invested in this whole thing than I am. And second, I'm in the frantic "do I really need a jean jacket AND a windbreaker" level of packing before a long trip. I can say that I didn't mind listening to this nearly 18 hour audiobook while the rest of the world is on fire, although of course they are not insulated. We can pretend that the Royal Family lives in a bubble, but they are enormously influential; touched by the same issues of race, class and gender; and Queen Elizabeth II is one of most influential politicians of modern times — and she is a politician, no matter what anyone says. Her death will be a global, cultural moment. Same thing with the Pope, on both fronts. I listened to Brown's  The Diana Chro