Book Review: Inside the Bottle

Arthur Shaprio is a legendary wine and spirits industry maven who has seen every trick in the booze industry marketing playbook. He is also the author of Booze Business, an exhaustive blog dissecting both the history and the current trends in the industry, and Inside the Bottle is his book.

I should, perhaps, clarify: Inside the Bottle is a book of Booze Business blog posts, which in turn are musings from a man who worked for years at Seagram and after it closed worked as a consultant for an endless procession of household name big booze brands. None of these entities seem to have had a nondisclosure agreement with Shapiro, and he lays bare all the demons at major brands like Crown Royal, Captain Morgan, Absolut, Skyy, and on and on. Shapiro’s stories are always illuminating and lots of fun; if you have any illusions about getting into the booze industry in any way, reading Shapiro’s book is an absolute must.

The book reads, not surprisingly, a lot like a blog. Stories have been roughly segmented into chapters, but the flow is choppy to the point of being almost random. It can be hard to tell sometimes where one tale ends and another begins, but the generous inclusion of simple cartoon drawings frequently used as dividers may be of help in that regard. Still, Shapiro knows how to spin a yarn, and he has no problem throwing every sacred cow he encounters under one bus or another.

The problem is: I’m unclear how much material in this book doesn’t appear on Booze Business, but a spot check indicates that it’s not a lot. You therefore have a choice when it comes to how you consume Shapiro’s tales. If you like the weight of the book in your hand or prefer to read on dead trees, grab the book. If you want to save $14, well, just point your browser to the link above. Either way, I’m sure Shapiro would have something to say about your decision.

B+ / $14 /  [BUY IT NOW FROM AMAZON]

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