Here at Overcup Press we select our titles using a variety of criteria, but one question we always ask ourselves is: Does this actually need to be a book? Do people need it? Does this contribute anything new to our culture? Can we bring design elements to it that will make it exciting and fun? The answer for this book time after time was yes, yes, yes.
The interior of a liquor store in Breckenridge, Colorado.
Why did this need to be a book?
- America’s drinking laws are confusing and often change by simply crossing a bridge between one state and the next. But our readers don’t need to know simply when last call is in Oregon. They can ask Siri that. Our goal was to create a lens for the entire country to be seen in terms of its parts—and that lens was alcohol. It was no small task, partly because it’s such a large country. Every time we made a decision to include a new dimension to the book, we had to include it fifty-one times. Occasionally, It was difficult to see the forest for the trees because the level of detail was so extreme, but in the end what emerged was a picture of America that was surprising, new, and utterly fascinating.
- Drinking and traveling go hand in hand. And these days, more and more people are traveling to drink. Checking out local breweries, spending time in wine country, or hitting a spirits trail is increasingly becoming the reason to travel. We aren’t just a nation ruled by big beer and California wine anymore. So, as Americans get more interested in locally produced products and regional favorites, it’s inevitable that they are going to have questions about the rules and laws for consumption. They are also sure to be curious about the local history as well because drinking and thinking also go hand in hand.
- There’s no other book targeted to consumers on this subject. The regulations found in the Field Guide are typically geared toward the alcohol industry. The history is often presented as just that, without acknowledging how the past affects the present—at least in terms of drinking culture. What The Field Guide to Drinking in America does is present the two in a fun and informative way for anyone who’s curious about where, when, and how America enjoys its alcohol.
So here you go, America! A new type of field guide for you. One you might not even have known you needed, but now that it’s here, one you won’t be able to do without. Cheers!
Patrick McDonald is the founder of Overcup Press, publisher of The Field Guide to Drinking in America. To learn more about Overcup's other titles, visit the Overcup website.