Michael Veach is a walking encyclopedia of bourbon. If you happen upon him in the grocery store, ask him about his prized rare bourbon collection, or about the potential Whiskey Row has on expanding local tourism. Just don’t ask him the question he dreads the most: What is your favorite bourbon? I guarantee he’ll respond with: “The one in my hand.”
Veach worked for 17 years at the Filson Historical Society, first as a special collections assistant, and then as the associate curator of special collections. During his time there, he became the go-to bourbon expert in town, as evidenced by his parting title, Bourbon Historian. Veach is author of “Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey: An American Heritage,” and he now runs his own bourbon consulting company and hosts events with the Filson on a contractual basis.
One such event is “Thirsty Thursday: The Night Before the Long Dry Spell” at the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience on Thursday, Jan. 15. Before the term “Thirsty Thursday” was coined by college bars for drink specials, it meant something completely different. Thursday, Jan. 15, 1920, was the last day to legally purchase alcohol before Prohibition began.
The event includes tastings of Old G.D. Bourbon, a product bottled in the 1890s, as well as the Evan Williams line and Larceny. Veach will share the history of the temperance movement that began the long, dry 13 years our country endured without liquor. Tickets are $100 and can be purchased here.
Before he quenches his thirst on Thursday, however, Veach answered some very important questions.
What’s the most surprising thing on your Bucket List?
I want to travel west of Fort Worth. I have yet to go further west, and people are often surprised by that fact.
What poster was on your wall in junior high?
A black light poster of a ghostly sailing ship.
If you were mayor, to whom would you give the key to the city?
(Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau’s VP of Marketing Communications) Stacey Yates. She has done so much to promote the city and bourbon. She deserves the key to the city.
What are your preferred pizza toppings?
I am a supreme pizza type of guy. I like the variety of flavors that come with multiple toppings.
If you could be any age for a week, what would it be?
I like my age. I would not want to be my younger, stupid self again. With age comes knowledge, and I like that.
What famous person do people say you resemble the most?
Who would you most like to be stuck with in an elevator?
If I were stuck in an elevator, I would prefer to be alone as I would not want to wish misfortune on anyone else. However, if someone was stuck there with me, I would want them to at least be interesting in conversation.