The Nation: Bottled Spirits

Kachinas are the Hopi Indians' holy spirits, sometimes personified by masked, dancers or represented by wooden dolls. Thus the Hopis protested when Kentucky's Ezra Brooks distillery hit upon the less than divine idea of marketing its bourbon in bottles shaped like kachina dolls. "How would a Catholic feel," asked Tribal Chairman Clarence Hamilton, "about putting whisky in a statue of Mary?"

The Indians enlisted the influence of Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater, himself a noted collector of kachina dolls. While Brooks had meant to sell 5,100 of the bottles in Arizona, the distillers agreed to stop at the 2,000 bottles already shipped; with...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!