Researching at the Oscar Getz Museum

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Researching at the Oscar Getz Museum

Unread postby bourbonv » Wed Jul 25, 2007 10:21 am

I spent some time searching for some letters I knew about at the Oscar Getx Museum. These were letters from a file of papers resued from the Old Crow distillery by an employee who pulled them from the dumpster and brought them to the museum about ten years ago. I looked briefly at them at that time and found the patent drawing and registration for cooling coild in the fermentor tubs and a letter from 1867 from James E. Pepper stating that William Marshall did indeed learn to distill from James Crow. I also found some other items of interest while looking for these items on Sunday.

The first thing of interest is deposition from two brothers who knew Crow and recounting his history for a trade mark suit in the late 1860's. I also found a contract for Old Crow Rye distribution in the late 1800's. There is a patent for drying slop for cattle feed from the 1890's. On the whole, it was a good day of research.
Mike Veach
"Our people live almost exclusively on whiskey" - E H Taylor, Jr. 25 April 1873
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Unread postby NeoTexan » Wed Jul 25, 2007 3:38 pm

Who throws a document from the 1800's away? :dontknow:

This may be a silly question, but, are their any distilleries that have someone who may be considered a historian?
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Unread postby gillmang » Thu Jul 26, 2007 10:36 am

Mike, does the contract for the distribution of the rye contain any specifications on standards, e.g., age, proof, colour, other qualities?

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Unread postby bourbonv » Thu Jul 26, 2007 12:53 pm

You would be suprised at how little many people in the industry leadership are interested in the history. My big horror story is that when the people from Schenley were put in charge of the Stitzel-Weller distillery in the late 1980's, they hauled off a dumptruck load of old Stitzel-Weller files to the landfill mostly because they were pissed because they closed a Schenley facility to keep Stitzel-Weller open.
Mike Veach
"Our people live almost exclusively on whiskey" - E H Taylor, Jr. 25 April 1873
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Unread postby bourbonv » Fri Jul 27, 2007 6:01 pm

Gary,
The contract is between W A Gaines and Co. and H.B. Kirk and Co. dating from 12 October 1906. I will not try to copy all three pages from the contract, but will hit some points that are of interest.

"W.A. Gaines & Co. have for the past 26 years sold to the said corporation of H. B. kirk & Co. of New Jersey and its predecessor firms of the same name and style, the entire product of the OLD CROW RYE WHISKEY from the Old Crow Distillery in Woodford County"

This states the fact that this relationship dates back to 1880 and the rye was made at the Old Crow Distillery, but...

"will neither sell nor deliver any of the Old Crow Rye whiskey new or hereafter produced at the Old Crow Distillery in Woodford County, Kentucky, or elsewhere, to any person, firm or corporation other than H. B. Kirk & Co."

This reflects the fact that Gaines was purchasing rye whiskey from E H Taylor, Jr. made at the OFC distillery and probably continued to do so from the Old Taylor Distillery. Both Taylor and Gaines purchased rye from other distillers in the area such as McBrayer and sold it under their own brand name as well as McBrayer. I know this from the Taylor-Hay papers at the Filson.

The contract foes on to state that Gaines will produce as much rye as Kirk desires unless unavoidable conditions prevent it.

The next clause states that Gaines will sell the rye for 10 cents above production cost per gallon.

The next clause discuss credit for the purchase.

The fifth clause discusses the use of the Old Crow Labels and brands on the barrel head, stating that Kirk will not let any other firm use them.

The sixth clause states that Old Crow will maintain its present high quality standards and that Kirk can demand a refund within 4 years of the purchase of the whiskey if it feels the quality is not up to standard.

The seventh clause states that W A Gaines will bottle in bond Old Crow rye for H B Kirk & Co.

The eighth clause states that H B Kirk & Co. will "endeavor to to push the business" of Old Crow Rye and sell as much as possible.

The nineth clause states who the stockholders are in H B Kirk.

The last clause states that this is a 99 year contract.

So there are no mash bills or age statements mentioned. The deal seems to be for new made whiskey and Kirk would determine when it was sold on the market and at what proof. Provisions were made for a bonded product which of course means at least 4yo and 100 proof.
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"Our people live almost exclusively on whiskey" - E H Taylor, Jr. 25 April 1873
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