Louisville attorney Brian F. Haara has had a passion for the law since high school, when a lawyer first introduced him to the profession and all it entails. A few years later — we’re assuming in college — Haara also developed a passion for bourbon.
He found a way to combine his two muses, and in 2013, he started the Sipp’n Corn blog, which takes a look at the history of bourbon through the law. Recently, Haara decided to take the blog one step further and published “Bourbon Justice: How Whiskey Law Shaped America.”
Haara is a partner at Louisville law firm Tachau Meek.
He tells Insider that publishing a book on the topic was always the ultimate goal, but the blog allowed him to build an audience and organize his research.
“I knew right away that telling the bourbon story through facts from historic lawsuits would be a new and unique way to approach bourbon and history, and that there was enough information for a book instead of limiting it to a blog,” he says, adding that the process was much more difficult than he expected. “I knew research would be time-consuming and writing would take plenty of time, but I didn’t realize what went into moving from a manuscript to the finished product.”
Haara was first inspired to create Sipp’n Corn after stumbling upon Pepper v. Labrot, a bourbon trademark case from the late 1800s. It showed him that bourbon and history go hand in hand, and also these were true, fact-based stories and details that relied on much more than just an old tale made up by marketing wizards.
“I wanted to share my newfound discovery that dusty bourbon lawsuits tell the story of historic brands while also leading the development of American commercial law and telling the story of our nation,” he explains.
“Then I discovered that bourbon is still at the leading edge of commercial law and governmental regulation today, and with a little encouragement from readers, I realized that other people found this perspective interesting, too.”
One of Haara’s favorite lawsuits occurred just this past summer, when the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the right of Castle & Key to use the historic name of the Old Taylor Distillery.
“That’s my true favorite case, not just because we won, but because this case provides a direct connection between the history of Col. E.H. Taylor Jr. and the distillery that he built in 1887 to the present day,” says Haara.
Currently, Haara is busy promoting “Bourbon Justice” with a few local signings. You can catch him on Dec. 1 at Liquor Barn in Middletown; Dec. 4 at Bourbon’s Bistro for an official launch party; Dec. 8 at Barnes & Noble in the Paddock Shops; and Feb. 7 at Carmichael’s Bookstore.
Before he sat down to enjoy his bourbon neat, we asked him some very important questions …
What’s the most surprising thing on your Bucket List?
Maybe surprising because of the competition between bourbon and scotch, but I’d like to visit every distillery in Scotland.
What poster was on your wall in junior high?
“Star Wars: Return of the Jedi” movie poster.
If you were mayor, to whom would you give the key to the city?
Posthumously to Col. E.H. Taylor Jr., for his efforts to save Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey in the late 1880s.
What are your preferred pizza toppings?
Everything — Garbage Pizza at Luigi’s.
If you could be any age for a week, what would it be?
Age is only important to me when I’m thinking about bourbon.
What famous person do people say you resemble the most?
My wife humors me and says Juan Martín del Potro when I’m on the tennis court.
Who would you most like to be stuck with in an elevator?
An elevator repair service worker.