Whiskey and the Law: A Legal History of Whiskey in America from the Whiskey Rebellion to Today's Craft Whiskey Distilleries

Recorded On: 07/18/2023

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Program recordings from the 2023 AALL Annual Meeting & Conference were sponsored by LexisNexis. Please note the opinions shared during the programs represent the views of the speakers and not of AALL.

The colonization of the New World brought the centuries old whiskey distillation cottage industry to America. Whiskey distillation diversified during the 18th-century immigration of Scots-Irish and Germans, overtook the rum business in the 19th century, and has been an interesting component of U.S. statutory and regulatory law for 200 years. This program will review the history of whiskey in America, as well as demonstrate historical statutory and regulatory research methods with “whiskey” as a topic.

This program is sponsored by the Legal History & Rare Books SIS.


Librarians, Faculty, and Attorneys interested in the regulation of alcohol products. Also anyone interested in legal history and/or whiskey.


  • Participants will be able to discuss key historical, and current, regulatory and statutory law concerning whiskey distillation and sales in America.
  • Participants will be able to identify methods for conducting U.S. historical regulatory and statutory law research.
  • Participants will be able to discuss the history of whiskey and describe how whiskey is distilled.


  • Dave Willis, Co-Founder and Head of Whiskey Production, Bully Boy Distillers


  • Laura Ray, Outreach & Instructional Services Librarian, Cleveland State University College of Law

AALL BODY OF KNOWLEDGE DOMAINS: Research + AnalysisTeaching + Training

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Whiskey and the Law
Open to view video.
Open to view video.