CEI Film Credits Free Market With Whiskey’s Endurance [VIDEO]

Timothy Meads Contributor
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The Competitive Enterprise Institute’s favorite beverage not only pairs nicely with a fine cigar, but is ultimately “the spirit of the free market.”

Lawson Bader, CEI’s president, believes whiskey embodies the principles of the free enterprise system. Bader is producer of “I, Whiskey,” a documentary that delves into the beverage’s rich history. Behind each glass is thousands of bootleggers, scientists, and businessmen and women who have experimented, failed and succeeded in the market.

CEI is promoting new ways to spread its message of limited government and free enterprise. The group hopes to target an audience who might not think in terms of economics. Bader believes free market advocates “need different vehicles beyond public policy to change culture and change society.”

Whiskey, his favorite drink, is the perfect vehicle to promote change.

Lawson Bader told The Daily Caller, “There has been a huge explosion in the market for whiskies and bourbons, single malts in the U.S. and abroad. It has become a very popular drink. Both and men and women enjoy whiskey and is a topic that would allow us to reach a different kind of a group.”

According to Bader, the free market created the beverage, but the drink has thrived despite heavy regulation from overbearing governments. The idea for “I, Whiskey,” set to be released in 2016, came after the success of CEI’s film “I, Pencil.”


“I, Pencil” highlighted organizations and tradesmen who voluntarily donated their time, money and goods. This “spontaneous order” joined a wide variety of humans together to create a product used all around the world. Leonard Read’s famous essay inspired “I, Pencil.”

“I, Whiskey,” though, covers more concepts than the previous endeavor.

Bader further explained, “‘I, Pencil’ was much a clearer example of free enterprise, but alcohol is not a perfect example. It is a highly regulated product. Despite government attempts to squash it out, the drink survived through out the years because of human spirit that binds people and countries together.”

Bader hopes the film will connect with the average individual and clarify misconceptions about free enterprise and capitalism.

“The biggest misconception about the free market is that it is focused on solely monetary profit. Free enterprise is about choices, and experimenting, risking and benefiting from that risk through innovation.” Bader told TheDC.

“It’s a voluntary system of exchange,” he continued. “One person voluntarily hands something over, and another person takes something. It doesn’t have to be money either. You’re better off with the freedom to exchange. Heavy government regulation and involvement takes away our ability to choose, which damages the market and final product.”

In addition to learning free market principles, viewers will be introduced to numerous individuals involved in the making of whiskey throughout the years.

One such tale is that of Bessie Williamson. The Scottish woman not only helped keep the drink alive during World War II, but also owned the Laphroaig distillery. Williamson started as a summer worker, but quickly became master distiller and manager at Laphroaig. Williamson tried numerous times until she crafted the perfect blend. Today, Laphroaig has nine distilleries and a booming tourist economy.

Her story serves as a reminder of the hard work and dedication needed to succeed, but also reminds the audience that failure is built into free enterprise and is a beauty of the system. Failure, Bader says, is one of the free market’s greatest benefits.

“Government regulation is essentially trying to protect against any risk at all, but there’s a grave danger in that. With Whiskey, craftsmen failed numerous times, but human ingenuity preserved and created the tastes we have today. Failure rewards the individual because they can improve on their mistakes.”

The film is funded from donations through an Indiegogo campaign. The majority of monetary gifts come from citizens across the U.S.