Lawyer Minds Podcast #2 – Bourbon Justice w/ Brian Haara

Published on May 21, 2020
This is the official podcast of Lawyer Minds. We’ll discuss news related to the Lawyer Minds ecosystem and the legal industry in general.

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Official Lawyer Minds Podcast

The Hosts

Mike Campbell

Mike Campbell heads the Columbia, MO office of Thomas Law Offices and concentrates his practice on motor vehicle and medical negligence litigation. He is on the Board of Governors for the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys, is an associate editor …

Tad Thomas

Mr. Thomas is the founding partner of Thomas Law Offices with offices in Louisville, Kentucky, Cincinnati, Ohio and Chicago, IL.  He and his firm practice solely in the area of civil litigation with a primary focus on medical device and pharmaceutical …

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A little background to the show – Ryan Raplee has an eye-popping Bourbon collection.  Tad Thomas practices law in the heart of Bourbon country.  Mike, well Mike just makes sure things don’t get too out of hand.  Given this context, we couldn’t miss out on the opportunity to interview attorney and author Brian Haara about his book, “Bourbon Justice.”

Bourbon Justice explores the impact of Bourbon litigation on American’s jurisprudence. According to Brian, “no single commodity has contributed more to the development of American legal history than Bourbon.”

For example, the term “brand name.”  Fascinatingly enough, Bourbon litigation is what gave rise to that common phrase.  Back before bottles of Bourbon were sold with identifying labels, Bourbon barrels were “branded” with the name of the product, leading to the catchphrase, “brand name.”  A landmark case discussing how brand names are used in Bourbon history is Pepper v. LabrotIn that case, the Court ruled that James Pepper, son of Oscar Pepper, couldn’t use the name “Old Oscar Pepper’s Distillery” in his branding as he was no longer distilling at the physical Oscar Pepper Distillery.  Instead, another company had purchased the distillery and the Court ruled it had the legal right to use that (very popular) brand name.

Another landmark case between two giants of Bourbon production was:

EH Taylor JR v. GT Stagg.  In this case, Col. EH Taylor sold his personal signature that was branded on bourbon barrels and also sold the name “OFC distillery” (Old Fashioned Copper) to GT Stagg to stave off bankruptcy.  Shortly after, EH Taylor started a new distillery with his son and sued Stagg to stop him from using his signature and the OFC name.  The court ruled that OFC was a trademark purchased by Stagg, but EH Taylor’s personal signature was not.  The court reasoned the signature identified the distiller and any subsequent distiller name should be branded on the barrels.  So, a win and a loss each for the legendary Taylor and Stagg.

And, did you know governing the purity of Bourbon and whisky took place before governing the purity of food and drugs? And that President Taft was so concerned with Bourbon purity that he issued the Taft Decision while President?

The Taft Decision:

  • Defined what straight, blended, and imitation whiskey was
  • Reserved the straight designation for Bourbon

For some background, while Taft was serving as a Sixth Circuit Judge he heard a case involving Old James Pepper, who was blending Bourbon from other distilleries with his own.  However, in his marketing he claimed his Bourbon was genuine and unadulterated.  Given Taft’s dealings with men like Old James Pepper (and likely hearing of the reputation of EH Taylor), Taft decided once and for all what defined Bourbon in America.

A few fascinating cases to read should you want to learn more:

Wathen, Mueller & Co v. Commonwealth, 133 Ky. 94 (Ky. Ct. App. 1909):  Provided precedent in American Jurisprudence for the removal of biased judges from cases.

Maker’s Mark Distillery, Inc. v. Diageo North America, Inc., 703 F.Supp.2d 671 (W.D. Ky. 2010):  Discussed the origin, evolution, and complete history of bourbon in America.

For ways to find the book, see the below links:

To get 50% off of Bourbon Justice if you order before June 1st, follow the following link:  here

Use the code:  6FFF.

The book is also available on Amazon:  here

For more information about Brian or his book, Bourbon Justice, check out:

www.brianhaara.com OR  www.bourbonjustice.com

You can also follow Brian on social media:

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/SippnCorn

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/SippnCorn/

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/sippn_corn/

ALSO! A primary driver of Lawyer Minds is to connect lawyers from the around the country through their ingenuity and ideas.

  • One of the ways we’re tackling this is through written interviews that lawyers can nominate themselves to complete.
    • If you are willing to do a written interview, nominate yourself.
      • If selected, your interview will get published on a specific day and get featured on our site and on social media.
  • We’re also launching a series of podcasts and articles from a variety of contributors, but are encouraging others to apply.
    • If you would like to contribute articles on legal topics/business topics to Lawyer Minds, please reach out to us.
  • TAMMY MESSER says:

    Great Podcast

  • Ryan Raplee says:

    What a great episode! I love bourbon.

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