April’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: The failure of Trump vodka, India's complicated relationship with booze, the roving Jell-O shot salesman known as "Jelloman" and more.

Spring Cocktail

Wild plums, fennel, sumac and dandelion plants are just a few of the ingredients making their way into Todd Boera’s distinctive brews. Sourcing his ingredients entirely from the Appalachian Mountains he calls home, Boera is bringing the notion of terroir to beer. [Serious Eats]

Having rescued a series of Eastern European breweries from the brink of extinction, Eugene Kashper has set his sights on revitalizing an American enterprise: Pabst Brewing Company. Key to Kashper’s plan is the reintroduction of a number bygone brands and recipes—many of which have not been brewed since the 1930s and ‘40s—and capitalizing on customers’ desire for authentic, local products in the wake of the craft beer movement. [New York Times]

Manishewitz’s compelling history and its success in marketing to Gentiles is often overlooked. NPR digs into the rich history of the wine that has become a fixture of the Jewish dining table. [NPR]

Paul Vile makes a living running the festival circuit, but he’s no musician. Rather, the young entrepreneur—incidentally, the brother of musician Kurt Vile—is better known as “Jelloman” for his travels from fest to fest hawking Jell-O shots out of his van. Live Nation tags along for part of the ride. [Live Nation TV]

The cult-like status of bourbon brand Pappy Van Winkle has spurred a not-so-secret black market on eBay and Facebook, where sellers trade in lesser liquor and fraudulent imitations. In Esquire, Aaron Goldfarb dives deep into the forgery scheme infiltrating the high-end bourbon market. [Esquire]

According to Germany’s 500-year-old purity law, Reinheitsgebot, beer must contain water, barley, hops and yeast—and nothing more. A remnant from medieval times when contaminants such as soot, sawdust and poisonous roots would occasionally make their way into beer, the law has the craft community up in arms, as even the addition of sugar disqualifies the brew from being classified as beer. [The Guardian]

Alcohol is an increasingly divisive issue in India, drawing out disparate views on morality, identity and class across the country. In Lucky Peach, Michael Snyder takes a look at the country’s complicated stance on booze. [Lucky Peach]

A recently translated text by a pre-eminent Kafka scholar reveals a boozy side to the writer best known for his dark humor. Some of the discoveries revolve around the author’s enjoyment of wine and the bonding ritual of sharing a drink with his father. NPR unpacks the complicated themes at play in these cherished memories. [NPR]

Wine merchant Peter Deutsch made his fortune importing Australian wine into the U.S., only to be cheated out of millions by Fidelity Investments as they competed for shares in the same company. Bloomberg covers the ongoing Deutsch-Fidelity battle. [Bloomberg]

In recent years, vintners from California’s Santa Cruz Mountains AVA have brought renewed attention to an area now known largely for its tech industry. Only five miles away from Silicon Valley, winemakers have embraced the extraordinary geographic diversity of the region, resulting in exciting wines expressive of the unique, mountainous terrain. [San Francisco Chronicle]

Shots are shedding their louche reputation thanks to pair of New York entrepreneurs behind LIQs, short for liquor shots: pre-mixed, portable shooters for those who prefer a frills-free cocktail experience. The New York Times investigates whether the trend has staying power. [New York Times]

Twenty-seven-year-old Matt Hofmann is the man behind America’s first locally sourced single-malt whiskey. In an effort to produce a spirit that spoke to its place of production, Hofmann sought out local Oregon oak for the barrels, Washington-grown barley and locally sourced peat, which he hopes will lend a distinct flavor profile to the spirit. [Food & Wine]

Despite being trumpeted as a success by GOP frontrunner, Trump vodka is anything but. Bloomberg investigates how the spirit with the slogan “Success Distilled” managed to fail so catastrophically. [Bloomberg]

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