I’m a fan of beers and a fan of ghosts. Yep, spirits and spirits (though, as I understand it, beer isn’t a spirit because it isn’t distilled, which has something to do with evaporation and condensation or something). Booze and whatever the plural of “boo” is. Boos? Boo’s?
Given these twin interests, I naturally was curious about Amanda R. Woomer’s America’s Haunted Breweries, Distilleries and Wineries. Turns out, it’s a neat book aimed mostly at travelers. Since getting around safely has become a bit of challenge in 2020, I recommend the book for armchair travelers, too.
28 haunted locations are covered, all of them in the continental United States. Grouped first by brewery, distillery, or winery, the locations are then presented alphabetically by name of the company. And there’s a nice index if a reader is looking for a particular state or topic, for instance, Tennessee or Prohibition or caves or Colorado or mead or Andy Griffith.
Each profile is illustrated and includes facts about the company’s history, its alcohol specialties, and its reported ghostly phenomena. With a touch of humor, Woomer’s tone is more promotional than evaluative. In other words, she wants you to go visit these places (and she doesn’t reveal if she’s actually visited them all in person or not. It would have been quite a journey if she had!) Personally, I found it best to read these profiles a few at a time rather than several at a single sitting. I’ve also discovered about the same to be true of beer consumption. Maybe that’s a good way to think of this book: AHBD&W is best read in moderation.
Now, this might reflect less the book and more the reader — I don’t read very many travel guides — but my only grumble concerns the book’s lack of a through line or something beyond the topic to create a slightly deeper or more cohesive feel. What are, oh, Woomer’s speculations on what makes these 28 hauntings a bit distinctive from those outside of alcohol-related settings? True, it’s cool that a reader can investigate these places while enjoying an adult beverage, but is there anything special about the manifestations themselves? Or are they similar to more famous hauntings? Any other conclusion(s) gleaned from this project? As I say, maybe I should read more travel guides, but when I finished the last profile, I felt like the bartender had forgotten to announce last call!, and I was suddenly booted out.
Despite this lack of closure, I enjoyed America’s Haunted Breweries, Distilleries and Wineries a lot, and I figured visitors to this website might want to investigate it.
Except for maybe a scene or two, the unsettling film Carnival of Souls has next to nothing to do with this book or really even booze in general.
Nonetheless, you might consider sipping a beverage while watching this perfect-for-Halloween movie — spiked with an interview with its star, Candace Hilligoss — on this episode of Creature Features.