Good Law | Bad Law #156 - Bourbon Law: A Conversation w/ Brian Haara

What is whiskey law? … And how has it impacted America’s history?


Aaron Freiwald, Managing Partner of Freiwald Law and host of the weekly podcast, Good Law | Bad Law, is joined by Brian Haara, author and an attorney at Tachau Meek, to discuss his recent book, Bourbon Justice: How Whiskey Law Shaped America.

Bourbon and the law might seem to be connected in only a few, and negative ways, but the real history of bourbon, hidden beneath the surface, “is the foundation of American commercial law and its relation to American history as a whole.” Relying on actual case reports and trial records, Brian recounts the history of Kentucky’s most famous spirit and the families who developed one of America’s first major industries to trace important developments in U.S. business law in areas including branding, trademarks, environmental law and other aspects of business dealings.


In today’s episode, Aaron and Brian analyze how historical laws about bourbon have impacted, and continue to impact, the law today. Drawing clear connections, Brian and Aaron talk about commercial law, trademark law, environmental law, competition law, and more. Brian shares the origins of “branding,” explaining that the history and roots of brand-name come from bourbon law. Aaron and Brian talk about our country’s earliest consumer protection legislation, including the crucial Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897. Brian and Aaron discuss a wide-range of whiskey topics as well, such as the differences between whiskey and bourbon and the definitions and the criteria each spirit is held to, as well as the importance of whiskey tax to our nation and how Kentucky became the epicenter for bourbon production.


Brian is a public speaker, legal writer, and co-managing partner of Tachau Meek, PLC, a business litigation firm in Louisville. A University of Kentucky Law graduate, Brian primarily serves the trial and litigation needs of clients in the financial services, insurance, and bourbon industries. As part of his practice, Brian represents both individuals and businesses, handling commercial litigation matters such as contract claims, trademark disputes, retail banking and UCC claims. Brian regularly litigates non-compete, unfair competition, trade secret, and breach of fiduciary duty cases, including injunction hearings, in state and federal courts in both Kentucky and Indiana. Brian has also been consulted in restrictive covenant matters in numerous other states.


A self-described whiskey enthusiast, Brian found a way to combine his love of bourbon and history with his passion for the law. Bourbon Justice is a fascinating look at our country’s heritage through the lens of bourbon. “Tracking the history of bourbon and bourbon law illuminates the development of the United States as a nation, from conquering the wild frontier to rugged individualism to fostering the entrepreneurial spirit to solidifying itself as a nation of laws.” More than just a true bourbon history, this book analyzes key moment’s throughout America’s past, identifying important milestones that continue to influence our laws and society today. 


To purchase a copy of Brian’s book, please follow the link here.

To learn more about Brian and his book, please visit his website here.

Brian’s blog, Sipp’n Corn, can also be found on his website, please click here.

To learn more about Brian’s law firm, Tachau Meek, please click here.


Host: Aaron Freiwald

Guest: Brian Haara