August’s Best Reads on Drinks and Drinking

Welcome to The PUNCHbowl, a monthly installment where we share our favorite long reads on all things drinks and nightlife. This month: Korea's soju-soaked corporate culture, Wrigley Field's veteran beer slingers, the battle over Tennessee whiskey and more.

August Longreads Cocktail

Kyle MacLachlan, an actor known for his roles in Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks, is also a well-regarded vintner. An anomaly in the world of celebrity winemakers, MacLachlan takes a hands-on approach to producing some of Washington State’s highest-rated wines under his label, Pursued by Bear. [Observer]

Justin Peters has been a beer vendor at Wrigley Field for 17 years. Despite being a published author, Editor-at-Large for the Columbia Journalism Review and the special correspondent for Slate, Peters maintains that slinging beer at Wrigley Field is the “greatest job anyone could ever have.” [Chicago Tribune]

When nearly $1 million worth of wine bought on pre-arrival failed to turn up, financier Lawrence Wai-Man Hui filed a lawsuit against California wine merchant Premier Cru, which eventually led to the indictment of its owner, James Fox. Bloomberg traces the initial success and inevitable fall of Fox, who now faces jail time for defrauding his customers of $45 million in one of the wine world’s largest Ponzi schemes. [Bloomberg]

In response to shrinking market share, Sam Adams has doubled down on their efforts to produce innovative brews. At the helm of this endeavor is brewery manager Jennifer Glanville, the mastermind behind the brand’s “Nano-Brewery,” a dedicated space for experimenting with new flavors and techniques to keep pace with the rapidly growing craft beer industry. [Fast Company]

To a foreigner, the heavy drinking culture in Korea might come as a surprise. In The Washington Post, an American businessman recounts the soju-soaked corporate culture in a country where citizens down an average of 11 shots per week. [The Washington Post]

As it turns out, alcohol may have played a significant role in the survival and evolution of early humanoids. In Esquire, Robert Evans offers an excerpt from his book, A Brief History of Vice, in which he approaches alcohol through the lens of evolutionary biology. [Esquire]

In May, 2013, Jack Daniels lobbied the Tennessee government to pass House Bill 1084, which mandates that all spirits bearing the label “Tennessee whiskey” be distilled within state lines and, notably, filtered through charcoal. While many distillers viewed this filtration caveat as a measure of quality control and cultural preservation, others saw it as an attempt by the largest whiskey producer in the world to curtail competition. [Munchies]

While filming Che in South America over a period of six months, director Steven Soderbergh developed such a strong taste for singani, the national spirit of Bolivia, that he decided to develop his own brand of the grape brandy. Roads & Kingdoms on the development of Soderberg’s passion project, Singani 63, and the hurdles it still faces in gaining traction in the U.S. [Roads & Kingdoms]

With locally sourced ingredients like oysters and honey finding their way into Long Island’s distinctive brews, the spit of land has become a craft beer destination in recent years, as well as a hotbed for locally made spirits. Imbibe examines how the locavore model has helped to foster not only a sense of community, but a kind of cross-pollination between budding businesses. [Imbibe]

In wine writing, as in sports journalism, a sense of storytelling and conversational prose pervades; both require a strong point of view and passion for the subject, and the similarities do not end there. Noticing the overlap between the two categories, Bill Ward explores the curious phenomenon of sports-writers-turned-wine-writers. [Columbia Journalism Review]

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