For people wanting a vacation from non-stop election coverage, one advocacy group is inviting people to organize their own happy hour to escape it.
A variety of happy customers and bartenders are interviewed about what whiskey means to them, along with interviews with specialty producers like Rick Wasmund, whose Copper Fox Distillery makes an applewood aged whiskey in rural Virginia, and with Garret Peck, a historian whose recent book includes “Prohibition in Washington, D.C.” and “The Prohibition Hangover.” Bill Thomas, the owner of Jack Rose, loves the film: “Amazing what they could capture in 8 minutes. It’s a good balance of the history of whiskey making and of the modern whiskey drinker – they just captured the energy of whiskey culture.” Asked if he thinks the short might lead film industry location scouts to consider the saloon for feature films, Thomas, who appears in the short, answered “I feel like I’ve already been in a major film.”
CEI founder Fred Smith appears as a bar patron in the film. When he retired as the group’s head in 2013, he told the Washington Post: “I recognized that intellectuals were dour, and that the war was going to be a long one. In warfare, you need R&R; in our world, that means having fun while you fight. And we do have fun.”
Garrett Peck, author of several history books on and also a tour guide on the history of the Prohibition era, says I, Whiskey “shows how much innovation and how much community – Americans tend to be social drinkers, drinking whiskey – or wine or beer – around a table. Americans innovated when they started using corn, which is what they had, instead of the barley Scots used, creating the foundation for bourbon.” When asked if he thinks the film is so subtle – and so beautiful – that viewers won’t get that it is trying to educate them, Peck answers: “I think the ideas are there – especially about innovation.”
“I, Pencil,” along with a longer 70s film, “The Incredible Bread Machine,” were popular educational media for high school and junior high school students learning basic economics. (A pre-political Ronald Reagan read the story Bread Machine was based upon on one of his broadcasts.) France says people as far away as middle school teachers in Africa have asked her for transcripts of the “I, Pencil” film, and even though “I, Whiskey” has only been live on-line since midnight Tuesday, she’s already had a request from college professors for transcripts they can use in classrooms. France says she’s “bracing,” in today’s climate, for someone to eventually complain that the film triggers people or promotes drinking, though no one has done so so far.