Early Reviews Are in for “I, Whiskey”

The long wait is over – CEI has released the full version of the new film I, Whiskey: The Human Spirit online. From the earliest concept discussions to our Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to today’s official release, it’s been a long and rewarding road to the final product. You can read more about the pre-history of the project here.

In the weeks leading up to today, we shared an advance version of the film with several friends who generously reviewed it and provided us with feedback. We’ve reprinted some of those generous assessments below. It’s an impressive group (if we do say so ourselves). Once you’ve watched the film, scroll down to see the others have said about it – and let us hear your verdict as well.

Freedom isn’t just a vague generality; it’s embodied in every good that results from the creative energies of people enjoying life. No mortal mastermind or central planner ordered anybody to invent and market a drink derived from fermented grain mash. After you see CEI’s I, Whiskey, “bottoms up” will mean so much more!

Lawrence W. Reed, President of the Foundation for Economic Education


Whiskey has played a central role in our nation's history, from the colonial era and George Washington’s distillery through the Whiskey Rebellion, Prohibition and into modern times. This American spirit has made an important economic and social contribution to the fabric of our communities and businesses. I, Whiskey captures the entrepreneurial spirit of freedom and cooperation that is the foundation of America’s success.

Kraig R. Naasz, President and CEO of the Distilled Spirits Council


The economy ​does not depend on bread, or pencils, alone. We humans lives in the transcendent as much as in the quotidian, in the sacred as much as the profane. As “I, Whiskey” vividly shows, a wee droppie, the glasses raised to the bride and groom, the friendly exchange of a cold evening over a dram of Drambuie come as much from trade and ingenuity as do our beds and our food. “Whiskey” is aquavit, the water of life. Rich and poor, we make our lives in graceful consumption and brilliant production. ​

Deirdre McCloskey, Distinguished Professor of Economics, History, English, and Communication Emerita at the University of Illinois at Chicago


It’s great to see innovation, creativity, and free markets expressed on display in the making of something so delicious. Great job, CEI!

Scott Barton, co-founder of Learn Liberty and Senior Director of Marketing and Communications at the Institute for Humane Studies


The I, Whiskey story and the history of whiskey stands as proof that government has little power to suppress the human spirit. I love it.

Walter E. Williams, John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics at George Mason University


I like I, Whiskey very much (even if you did misspell ‘whisky’). I especially like how the film did not focus on the mechanics – the “wonkiness” – of whisky but the spirit that imbues whisky and how that spirit sets it apart from others. Whisky is often the catalyst that brings us together, helping us to enjoy each other's company, freely sharing our thoughts, passions and ideas and the film reminded me of how importantly taverns figured in the forming of our nation. A spirit of community, cooperation and hospitality surrounds a shared bottle of good whisky and if we could convince our elected officials to revisit this lost tradition then perhaps…?

Christian Beyer, Scotch Whisky Associate for The Balvenie and Glenfiddich


A cocktail of beautiful ideas distilled into a single piece of art and enlightenment. This film rocks.

Isaac Morehouse, Founder and CEO of Praxis


Whisky is the conversation that soothes souls and celebrates the spirit. Its language needs no translation, and its taste is divine. I, Whiskey: The Human Spirit makes me thirsty for more.

Lawson Bader, President and CEO of DonorsTrust


Hi, I'm economist Art Carden. You might remember me from such previous CEI short films as I, Pencil Extended Commentary: Spontaneous Order and I, Pencil Extended Commentary: Connectivity. I, Whiskey is a very interesting introduction to the unseen forces that produce unplanned order with the unintended consequence that everyone is just a bit better off.

Art Carden, Professor of Economics at Samford University


The ideas of liberty and democracy sprung from conversations held in saloons, bars, taverns, and pubs around the world. Whiskey, by its very nature, is a direct connection to our shared history.

Brad DeVos, President and CEO of the Bastiat Society


Because of a 1797 letter, we know exactly when George Washington chose to go into the whiskey business, writing to a friend: “Mr. Anderson [his Scottish-born farm manager] has engaged me in a distillery….assuring me from his own experience in this country and in Europe, that I shall find my account in it.” By “find my account in it” Washington simply meant “make money” – which he did; whiskey was one of his most profitable products at Mount Vernon. The wonderful little film project I, Whiskey also allows us a fascinating sneak peek into the business-side of “spirits” – the ingenuity and creative strokes behind it…How it's made….How its served. But what I, Whiskey does best is capture the seductive warmth and mystique of whiskey and how fine-crafted spirits (lifted in a toast among friends perhaps) help us solidify our very sense of community. Now thats top shelf stuff, indeed!

Mark Will-Weber, author of Mint Juleps with Teddy Roosevelt: The Complete History of Presidential Drinking