Whiskey Rebels, The Dreamers, Visionaries & Badasses Who Are Revolutionizing American Whiskey the new book by Men’s Health Magazine spirits and cocktails pundit, editor of Barlycorndrinks.com and judging director for the John Barleycorn International Spirits Competition, tells the stories behind nine of craft distilling’s trailblazing brands and colorful entrepreneurs. To help you win the next round of Craft Distilling Jeopardy, take Distiller magazine’s ten-question Craft Trivia Test adapted from his book.

Whiskey Rebels is the ultimate craft cocktail party story book for craft distillers. Boozy bedtime stories for master distillers who want their kids to tend a mash cooker. Lullabies for liquor makers.

For craft distillers old and new, the brand names are well-known. Tuthilltown, Westward, WhistlePig, Stranahan’s, Few Spirits, Balcones, Corsair, Kings County, and Sagamore Spirit.

And the people behind the brands are craft distilling’s classic “hail fellows, well met” (fortunately, at least one of the fellows is female). Ralph Erenzo, Christian Krogstad, Jess Gaber, Rob Dietrich, Nicole Austin, Paul Hletko, Andrew Webber, Darek Bell, Colin Spoelman, Kevin Plank (better known as the founder of Under Armour), Bill McDermond, Dave Pickerell, Brian Treacy. Raj Bhakta.

But less well known are the back stories dug up by author John McCarthy — the secret formulas, tools and toys, defining obsessions, and superpower skills of craft’s pioneers. To wet your whistle for Whiskey Rebels, and test your aptitude for Craft Distilling Jeopardy, try yourself with the ten-question trivia test below. The answers are at the end of this review — but cover them with your hand (or a coaster). Real craft distillers don’t cheat.

The Distiller Magazine Ten-Question Craft Trivia Test, Courtesy of Whiskey Rebels.

  1. After the “whiskey rebellion,” what US President abolished the “whiskey tax” in 1802?
  2. What was the name of the American Distilling Institute founder Bill Owens’ first magazine? Hint: it covered craft brewing.
  3. What is the name of the distiller responsible for the first New York State distiller since before WWII, who helped pass the Farm Distillery Act that gave distillers the right to a tasting room and on-premises gift shop?
  4. What is the name of the rules used by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) to allow distilled products to be labeled “American single malt whiskey,” “bourbon,” “scotch,” or “rye?”
  5. What is the name of the distiller known as the “Johnny Appleseed of distilling,” who jump-started many of craft’s leading distilleries?
  6. What is the highest margin sale a craft distillery can make?
  7. While barley, rye, wheat and other grains are often malted, why do distillers not malt corn?
  8. What is the untrue myth about the wormwood that’s used in distilling absinthe?
  9. What is triticale?
  10. While most bourbon is distilled with a mash of corn, rye and malt, what makes Maker’s Mark and Pappy Van Winkle different from other bourbons?

Now, for the answers to the trivia questions above. To boost your booze IQ even more, go buy Whiskey Rebels, and read it.

  1. Thomas Jefferson.
  2. American Brewer.
  3. Ralph Erenzo.
  4. Standards of Identity.
  5. Dave Pickerell.
  6. The highest margin sale is from your own tasting room, avoiding wholesaler and retailer markups.
  7. It doesn’t convert starch to sugar. Corn’s stronger starch structure means you have to boil it, which deactivates the enzymes from malting which convert starch to sugar, so yeast can’t convert it to alcohol. Plus, malted and unmalted corn taste the same, so why bother?
  8. Wormwood does not cause hallucinations.
  9. A wheat and rye hybrid grain sometimes used in whiskey
  10. Maker’s Mark and Pappy Van Winkle are “wheaters,” wherein wheat replaces rye.