Here is a summary of what I have learned about Hirsch and Michter’s since the Reader story was published. I have been promised more information. I will follow-up on the story in the next Reader, which will come out in October, but here are the bare facts.
First, the new sources.
Steve Fox, national sales manager for Preiss Imports, supplied two key documents, a hand-written profile of A. H. Hirsch, written by Hirsch’s wife in 1989, and a 1988 warehouse receipt for "19 barrels of bourbon.” (Attached) Fox also gave me some information verbally.
Mary Steckbeck, the daughter of C. Everett Beam, provided access to newspaper clippings saved by her father during his career in Schaefferstown.
Adolph Hirsch was born in Mannheim, a city in the southwestern part of Germany, on June 5, 1908. He came to the United States in March of 1926 (age 17). His first job in the U.S. was with A. G. Becker, a large investment bank in Chicago, Illinois. He worked there until 1934, when he became vice-president of the Bernheim Distillery in Louisville (age 26), then owned by two veteran Chicago whiskey brokers, Emil Schwarzhaupt and Leo Gerngross.
In 1937, Schwarzhaupt and Gerngross sold Bernheim to Schenley. Hirsch stayed on with the new owners and was transferred to New York City to run the Bernheim Division from there. He left Schenley in December, 1941 (age 33).
In 1942, Hirsch and three partners acquired the Pennsylvania Distilling Company, which they renamed the Logansport Distilling Company. This is the company that bought the Schaefferstown distillery from Louis Forman. Bourbon whiskey was their principal product.
In November, 1946, Logansport was sold to Schenley, which Hirsch rejoined, staying until March, 1947, when he retired (at age 38) to pursue “charitable activity.” In April, 1956, he rejoined Schenley as Executive Vice President and moved back to New York. In July, 1960 he retired for good (at age 52).
In 1958, Hirsch succeeded Leo Gerngross as president of the Emil Schwarzhaupt Foundation, a position he held until at least December 31, 1978. The Foundation promotes American citizenship, "especially among the foreign-born."
When, in 1989, his wife wrote the brief profile of his life , they were living in Grand Rapids, Michigan. At the bottom of the sheet is written the year “1974,” below which is the following statement:
"Mr. Hirsch is extremely proud of the high quality and character of this stock of bourbon, and would be pleased to have his name associated with the product."
The Warehouse Receipt
Included with the biographical sketch is a warehouse receipt from "Pennsylvania Sour Mash Distillery Inc., DBA Michter’s Distillery." It is receipt number 207, dated June 6, 1988. The receipt was issued to "Adolph H. Hirsch and Buddy L. Hirsch" for 19 barrels of bourbon produced by Pennco Distillers Inc, with serial numbers 74B 2732 to 74B 2750, on February 27, 1974. Entry proof is shown as 115 and the total volume in proof gallons (for tax purposes) is shown as 1,135.
Warehouse receipts were negotiable instruments. In other words, you transferred ownership of the whiskey by transferring possession of the receipt.
The C. E. Beam clippings file
From the Lebanon Press & Journal, a long feature story about the Schaefferstown distillery dated May 12, 1966.
The name is Pennco.
It is the only independent distillery in Pennsylvania.
It mashes 750 bushels of grain a day, producing 60 barrels of whiskey a day.
It has one bonded warehouse that holds 60,000 barrels.
It uses attrition mills and a continuous still. Proof of distillation is 150. Proof of entry is 110 to 120.
Pennco acquired it in 1957. Pennco is a closed corporation from Philadelphia. Its president is Samuel Glass. The plant manager is George Shattls. One of the company’s brands is Robert Morris Rye.
From an October, 1971, clipping.
Pennco’s president is Louis Forman. The company is building a bottling house. It has just resumed production, after being closed for 18 months. The company is making raisin brandy, which is used for the fortification of fortified wines such as sherry and port.
From a 1957 newspaper advertisement.
Some of the company’s products are Old Vandegrift, Pennco Rye Bond, Pennco’s 86 Rye, and Uniontown.
From a 1961 clipping.
Commemorating barrel number 50,000. Only independently-operated distillery in Pennsylvania.
- Warehouse Receipt.PDF
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Last edited by cowdery
on Thu Sep 21, 2006 12:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.