Friends of the Park City Library plan high-spirited author luncheon
Author Perkins will speak about whiskey
September 29, 2017
Those who attend this year's Friends of the Park City Library Author Luncheon will get to hear a spirited presentation by author Jane Perkins.
Perkins, who founded High West Distillery with her husband David and co-wrote the book "The Golden Elixir of the West: Whiskey and the Shaping of America" with renowned Western-history author Sherry Monahan, will speak at the event that begins at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 10, at Deer Valley's Silver Lake Lodge.
"I'll talk about some of the highlights of the book," Perkins told The Park Record.
The Perkins' plans to open High West Distillery inspired "The Golden Elixir of the West."
"Interestingly there weren't any whiskey producers out west when David and I started it in 2004, which was strange because when I think of whiskey, I think of a saloon and the Old West." Perkins said. "We wondered why and did some research."
Through the process of researching labels for their whiskey products, the two uncovered interesting stories and fun facts, including the history of Utah's Valley Tan whiskey, which the territorial legislature granted Brigham Young the exclusive right to manufacture and distribute in 1873.
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"We also found that Mark Twain came out and wrote about our Valley Tan whiskey, as did Sir Richard Burton in his book 'City of the Saints,'" Perkins said. "There was so much we found that we felt we should put it in a story format."
With that decision, Perkins felt the best way to do that was to combine her and her husband's passion for whiskey with someone who is passionate about the West.
"We wanted to find someone who also had a reputation as a writer of Western history," Perkins said. "We cold-called several people and someone referred us to Sherry Monahan."
Monahan, a member of the Western Writers Association, has written 14 books about several characters of the West as well as California's wine history.
"I called her up and she said she was totally interested," Perkins said. "After there days of nonstop researching, drinking and tasting, we felt it was a marriage made in heaven."
Although Perkins and Monahan worked for two years on the book, it took four years to publish it.
"One of the things that Sherry and I discovered was that the five big movements that came out West — Mountain Men, Miners, Pioneers, Cowboys and Railroad Workers — had one thing in common: they all brought whiskey," Perkins said. "This is basically the format of the book. It talks about why they brought whiskey and how it was used."
Another thing the writers address is the value of whiskey back in the 1800s.
"Sometimes whiskey was more valuable to the miners, prospectors, homesteaders and pioneers because they used it medicinally," Perkins said. "That's when I started getting excited about the social, political and economical influences that whiskey had."
The book focuses on the era from 1810 to 1910.
"We wanted to show how these stories and the events shaped the American West," Perkins said. "We also talk about the modern whiskey trend that David and I were part of. It has come full-circle from the underground to the return of brown spirits."
Ann Whitworth, a Friends of the Park City Library board member, was referred to Perkins by Dolly's Bookstore Manager Sue Fassett.
"It's wonderful that not only is Jane an integral part of the community but also has written a book that goes beyond the community," Whitworth said.
Friends of the Park City Library Co-President Jean Daly said unlike many events the nonprofit presents, the luncheon isn't a fundraiser.
"It's a way for us to give thanks to the community for all of its support with our programs, including the annual used book sale, and for its support of the library," she said.
Daly is grateful to the Silver Lake Lodge for hosting the event.
"We always know when we go to Deer Valley that we are going to have a quality experience," she said. "The food and service are wonderful."
Friends of the Park City Library author luncheon will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 10, at Deer Valley's Silver Lake Lodge. Tickets are $36 until Oct. 6, when the price will go up to $40. Tickets can be purchased at the Park City Library information desk, 1255 Park Ave. or online.
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