Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Bourbon's racist history: "It’s simply a warning to be careful which myths we choose to swallow."

Library of Congress.

To view an antebellum image like this is to be reminded that discussions of racist and sexist advertising in "craft" beer are perfectly legitimate, and to be encouraged, lest the Wayback Machine deposits us in unsavory locales.

The recent election outcome isn't to my taste. Let's hope it doesn't take us all the way back to the 1850s, shall we?

Sugarcoating a painful history, by Christine Sismondo (The Globe and Mail)

Marketing-driven nostalgia is bringing people back to American whiskey, whose history, like the country itself, is steeped in anti-black racism

The past decade has been soaked in bourbon, and it’s easy to see why. It tastes like sweet, boozy, butterscotch-ripple ice cream and the price point is decent compared with Scotch.

But the biggest reason for a renewed enthusiasm for the corn-based spirit, however, has been its marketing, which trades on the idea of a hand-crafted product with a long-established heritage ...

 ... The golden age wasn’t particularly golden for those who experienced the lynchings and daily terrorism that was part and parcel of the era being idealized. African-Americans know this, which is why bourbon has never sold terribly well in their communities. Around the turn of the previous century, gin was what they preferred. And ever since African-American soldiers from Jim Crow-era southern states were deployed to fight in Europe in both wars, Cognac has been the most popular liquor among African-Americans who could afford it.


No comments: