News Article

National Archives Foundation Announces Partnership with Derek Brown, New “Chief Spirits Advisor,” as Part of New Spirited Republic Exhibit

April 14, 2015

The National Archives Foundation and award-winning bartender Derek Brown announced a new partnership today that will include a series of events at the National Archives as well as engagement with 20 DC-area bars in conjunction with the National Archives Museum’s new exhibit: Spirited Republic: Alcohol in American History.

Brown, the first-ever “Chief Spirits Advisor,” will curate a new History of the Cocktail Series to discuss the role of spirits in U.S. history. In this ten-part series, some of the top writers, bartenders, spirit-makers, and thinkers in spirits and cocktails will discuss various eras in the history of the cocktail, shedding light on our Spirited Republic.

Each event will highlight a period in American drinking from B.C. (before the cocktail) to the Platinum Age (the present age of cocktails), discussing everything from potential evidence for pre-Hispanic distillation to using technology to invent new cocktails. The events schedule and RSVP information is available at

In addition, each month during the exhibit, which will be on display through January 2016, local DC-area bars will serve original cocktails. These libations will also be served at the corresponding History of the Cocktail event. The list of participating establishments can be viewed at:

“Like a good mixed drink, the National Archives Foundation is bringing top shelf bartender Derek Brown to educate and entertain audiences for our Spirited Republic exhibition programming,” said Patrick M. Madden, executive director of the Foundation. “Attendees will be inspired by his insights and knowledge and enjoy the passion of the speakers we have lined up.”

“From landing on Plymouth Rock in search of beer to creating the cocktail, the story of America could be easily told through the drinks it has both consumed and condemned. The chance to tell that story alongside such a comprehensive exhibit as Spirited Republic – not just with documents but through experts in the field and in the top bars of Washington, D.C – is unprecedented. I’m grateful to be a part of it,” said Derek Brown.

Spirited Republic explores the federal government’s efforts, successes, and failures to change our drinking habits, from whiskey rations to the Continental Army to the Whiskey Rebellion to Prohibition and beyond. The exhibit uses nearly 100 National Archives records and artifacts to show the evolution of the government’s alcohol policy over time, and to illustrate the wide variety of views about alcohol held by Americans.

Spirited Republic is free and open to the public, and will be on display in the Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery of the National Archives Museum in Washington, DC, from March 6, 2015, through January 10, 2016. The National Archives is located on the National Mall on Constitution Avenue at 9th Street, NW.

The public can learn more at and on social media via hashtag #SpiritedRepublic.

Spirited Republic is presented in part by the National Archives Foundation through the generous support of: HISTORY®, the Lawrence F. O’Brien Family, The Tasting Panel Magazine, and Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America. Additional exhibition funding provided by the Beer Institute, the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S., the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association, and the National Beer Wholesalers Association.

Media inquiries about the National Archives Foundation or Spirited Republic should be directed to:

Press requests for Derek Brown should be sent to: or 202-277-3473