In the fall of 2007 when publication of Brewing Battles was imminent I knew I wanted to have a website. I settled on Networks Solutions to host my site, primarily because it seems like setup would be easy, I would not have to learn html, and I could have a blog on the site.

Hindsight is twenty-twenty and I now realize I was overly optimistic. I have had to learn some html; to maintain this WordPress blog I will have to learn css. In addition, Network Solution only half-heartedly supports the blog since within Image Café, its non-html web building software, you can’t actually have true external links.

In trying to acquire a deeper knowledge about websites and blogging, I have turned to books and online forums. I have had mixed results. Books such as the “dummies” series usually have general information but rarely address a specific concern or problem. The same is usually true for online forums. The WordPress documentation and support, so far, has been useless. Since I have had little success in finding answers ,I may have to write my own book. I always assume that I am not unique and other people probably have the same issues.

From my first posting on this WordPress blog to this one ,I have learned how to put spaces between paragraphs. You have to place a string of code after each paragraph. I find it very odd that in Microsoft Word you just hit enter, but for the blog I had to spend several hours figuring out how to get the space. Now every time I write more than one paragraph I will have to include the code. If someone could make blogging as easy as word processing they would make a lot of money and people would be eternally gratefully. At the very least I would be.

What’s Next

I have started thinking about my next project. Brewing Battles was my attempt to get into print some of the ideas, concepts, and research contained in my dissertation. Publishing the book has given me a good sense of closure yet I am not sure if I am done yet. My dissertation, “The Politics of Alcohol Production: The Liquor Industry and the Federal Government 1862 – 1900” dealt both with distilled spirits and beer. The parts of the dissertation that dealt with distilling remain unpublished; there is limited access to the material. I would like more people to read the ideas contained in those chapters but I do not feel that I necessarily want to write a companion book, Distilling Duels: The History of the Distilled Spirits Industry in America.

For the book, I chose to focus on beer because the story of brewing and brewers in America seemed both more cohesive and more integral to American history. The history of distilled spirits in America is a more predictable one, with concentration and consolidation occurring earlier and more completely. A notable exception was bourbon which claimed a more distinctive heritage and marketing.

Recently the same impulse that prompted home brewers, craft brewers, and regional brewers to reinvent American brewing on a small, local, artisanal basis has spread to distilled spirits. Anchor Steam now has a distillery, V1 Vodka produces small batch vodka in Western Massachusetts, and there are artisanal producers of rum and other alcoholic beverages.

To order my dissertation you can go to Dissertation Express . Type in my name, Amy Mittelman and or the title of the dissertation, “The Politics of Alcohol Production: TheLiquor Industry and the Federal Government, 1862 – 1900.”

You can also try to get a copy of the dissertation through inter library loan.


Welcome! If you are visiting this blog for the first time, I am very glad to have you here. I have had a blog since February but it was more low tech, more journal than blog. The title of my book is Brewing Battles: A History of American Beer and the publishing and publicizing of the book has engendered some battles as well. For now suffice it to say that it was not easy to switch from the manual “musings” page on my website to this legitimate wordpress blog.

If you are a repeat visitor, welcome as well. If you were redirected from please bookmark this site – I will continue to use this blog to talk about Brewing Battles, beer, the brewing industry, alcohol and temperance and some life issues including politics as well. Now it will be very easy for people to comment so I hope you all will.

If you want to visit the main site, you can click here or on the side of the blog under About. Cheers!