Stitzel-Weller Time Line

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Stitzel-Weller Time Line

Unread postby bourbonv » Thu Jul 14, 2005 5:51 pm

Since this distillery is so popular and there are many questions about its history, I decided to post my time line here.

Stitzel-Weller History

1716 - Johannas Weller was born in Germany. ( N Morgan,
15/10/92)

c1730 - Johannas Weller moves to Fredrick County Maryland, (N
Morgan, 15/10/92).

1762 - Daniel Weller is born [W L Weller's grandfather].
(Filson Club, Weller Family Papers).

1787 - Samuel Weller is born. [W L Weller's father] [W L's
mother is Pheobe LaRue]. (Filson Club, Weller Family
Papers).

o - The Book, "Seven Generations of Larues" Identify Samuel Weller as Captain Samuel Weller, from service in the War of 1812.

1794 - Daniel Weller comes to Kentucky on a flatboat. He then
purchases land near Bardstown. (Filson Club, Weller
Family Papers).

1800 - Daniel owns a distillery in Nelson County, Kentucky.
(Filson Club, Weller Family Papers).

1807 - Daniel Weller dies. (Filson Club, Weller Family
Papers).

o - Daniel Weller's estate is inventoried on September 24,
1807 in the Nelson County Will Book B - pages 46-50.
His estate list numerous cooper's tools, 3 whiskey
barrels, and "two stills, mash kettles and dry kegs"
valued at $212.17.

1815 - In the final list of "Sale/Bills" for Daniel Weller's
estate in Nelson County Will Book C on Pages 462-463 on
October 5&7, 1815, Samual Weller is listed as
purchasing "two stills, one mash Kettle, 17 wash tubs,
17 kegs for $208.50."

1825 - William LaRue Weller is born. (N Morgan, 15/10/92).

1837 - Samuel Weller files his Last Will and Testament with
the Larue county courthouse. If his estate was ever
inventoried, the book in which it would have been filed
is missing from the courthouse records. (M Veach,
21/12/92).

1842 - John H Weller is born [the brother of William LaRue who
was raised as a son after the death of thier parents in
1854]. (Filson Club, Weller Family Papers and Thompson,
History of the Orphan Brigade).


1844 - W.L. Weller comes to Louisville. He joins the Louisville brigade and serves in the War with Mexico (Louisville Times, March 24, 1899).

1847 - W L Weller serves in the Louisville Brigade in the
Mexican War. (Courier-Journal, Obit. for W L Weller).

1849 - William Larue Weller & Brother, traders, founded. (N
Morgan, 18/11/91).

o - W L Weller uses the slogan "Honest whiskey at an
honest price." (UD Archives, 992.m.94).

o - Legend has it that W L Weller's whiskey's were so popular that he had to put his thumbprint in green ink on all invoices and barrels of whiskey sold to insure his customers that they were getting the real item (Liquor Store Magazine, Feb., 1970).

1850 - W.L. Weller marries Sarah B. Pence of Shelby County (Louisville Times March 24, 1899).

1851 - Louisville City Directory list W L Weller, wholesale
and retail dealer in foriegn and domestic whiskey,
located on the east side of 8th street between
Jefferson and Green (Liberty).

1852 - George Pence Weller is born. (W L Weller's son).
(Filson Club Geneolgt file for Weller Family).

1854 - Samuel Weller dies. (Filson Club, Weller Family
Papers). He was killed in an epidemic of either typhoid
or cholera that killed many other members of his
family. (John Jacobi, 23/10/92).

1862 - Charles D Weller is robbed and murdered in Clarksville,
Tenn. (John Jacobi, 23/10/92).

o - Charles D Weller and McWiley Parker are murdered in Tennessee by two gunmen. Weller is robbed of a large amount of cash (Louisville Daily Express, July 7, 1862).

o - The Book, "Seven Generations of Larues" states that Charles was murdered while on horseback while collecting bills.

1863 - John H Weller, a Captain in Kentucky's "Orphan Brigade"
of the C.S.A., is wounded in the battle of Chickamauga.
(Filson Club, Weller Family Papers).

1864 - George H Weller is serving in the C.S.A. in northern
Georgia. (Filson Club, Weller Family Papers).

o - J D Cambell's Louisville Business Directory list W L
Weller and Bro. at 612 Main Street across from the
Louisville Hotel. His Brother is listed as C D Weller.

o - Edward's Directory to the city of Louisville for 1864
-65 list W L Weller and Buckner as the name of the
company owned by Weller.

1865 - After the defeat of the Confederate armies in which
they served, Weller's sons William, George, and John
join the family business. (UD Archives, 992.m.94).

o - An Advertisement in the city directory has W L Weller
and Buckner as partners.

1867 - S.C. Herbst establishes a distillery (J. Atherton,
Kentucky's Distilling Industry, Filson Club Archives).

o - S C Herbst goes into the imported spirits business in Milwaukee, Wis. He later buys a distillery in Frankfort, Ky. (Wine and Spirits Bulletin, Jan. 12, 1905, pages 94-97).

1868 - Louisville city directory has W L Weller moved to 6th
street between Main and Water with no partner.

1869 - Alex T Farnsley is born on Feb. 9. (Who's Who in
Louisville, 1926 edition).

1870 - John E Fitzgerald builds distillery in Frankfort Ky.
[origin of Old Fitzgerald] (N Morgan, 18/11/91).

o - The original whiskey was called John E Fitzgerald and
sold for exclusive trade such as steamship lines and
private clubs. (UD Archives, 992.m.94).

o - W L Weller and Sons first advertised in the Louisville
City Directory.

1872 - Philip and Fredrick Stitzel build a distillery [later
to become part of Stitzel-Weller]. (N Morgan 18/11/91).

o - W L Weller is listed in the city directory as being
located on 2nd between Main and River.

1874 - Julius P Van Winkle is born in Danville, Ky. (UD
Archives, 992.m.161).

o - W L Weller and Sons is located on Main at the SE corner
of Brook in the city directory.

1875 - Arthur Ph. Stitzel is born on May 19 (Who's Who in Louisville, 1912 Edition).

1876 - Caron's Cuty Directory list the business as W. L. Weller and Son, with George P Weller as the son. W. L. Weller Jr is also working as a clerk. John H Weller was working for Jacob Weller in his grocery.

1879 - Fredrick Stitzel Patents the system of barrel ricking
that is used in whiskey warehouses today (Filson Club,
Museum Collection of Patent models).

1880 - W L Weller being sold at Harold's Club, Reno, Nevada.
(UD Archives, 991.m.10).

o - John Weller is elected to the Chancery Court.
(Thompson, History of the Orphan Brigade).

1883 - A Ph Stitzel's distillery burns down and he builds
another distillery on the same site. (UD Archives,
992.m.94).

1884 - Old Fitzgerald trademark is first registered ( U D
Archives, Old Fitzgerald Labels).

1885 - John H Weller is working in the Chancery Court with W L Weller Jr. as a deputy clerk. John C Weller is a clerk for Finzer and Bros. W L Weller and Son is W L Weller and George P. Weller, with R. Lee Weller working as a clerk. This is all as listed in Caron's City Directory.

1889 - John E Fitzgerald changes the name of his whiskey to
Old Fitzgerald. (UD Archives, 992.m.94).

1890 - Caron's City Directory list W L Weller and Son as W L Weller and George P Weller with W L Weller Jr., John C Weller and R Lee Weller as clerks. John H Weller is still in the Chancery Court.

1891 - Stitzel Bros. advertisement in the Wine and Spirit Bulletin (Jan. 1, 1891, Page 101).

o - Block, Frank and Co. distill Kentucky Oaks a handmade sour mash Bourbon. It is stored in new iron clad, patent rick warehouses, giving it a stout bodied flavor (Wine and Spirit Bulletin, March 3, 1891, page 12).

o - Stoll, Vanatta & Co. of Lexington, Ky. and Chicago, Ill. own the Elk distillery (Old Elk) at Lexington. Partners included Charles W and John C Wright of Edinburgh, Scotland (Wine and Spirit Bulletin, April 1, 1891, page 14).

o - Stoll and Vanatta introduce their whiskey to Chicago, Ill. (Wine and Spirit Bulletin, June 1, 1891, page 14).

1893 - Julius P. Van Winkle [Pappy] joins W L Weller, whiskey
traders. (N Morgan, 18/11/91).


o - Article in the Louisville Times, April 9, 1959 States that When Julian Van Winkle joined W. L. Weller and Sons as a salesman at the age of 19, Mr. Weller told him never to to take a drink with a customer. "He told me, `If you want a drink, you've got samples in your bag and you can drink in your room'".

o - John Weller is elected to the State Senate and serves
a single term. (Thompson, History of the Orphan
Brigade).

1895 - W L Weller Sr. has his will filed with the Jefferson
County Government. There is also an inventory of his
estate listed with the government in the Inventory and
Settlement book.


o - The Caron's City Directory list W L Weller and Sons as W L Weller, George P Weller and John C Weller. John H Weller is still in the Chancery Court and William LaRue Weller Jr. is again a deputy clerk for county court. R Lee Weller is listed as "Removed to Chicago".

1896 - W L Weller retires, leaving the business to his son
George and Brother John. (Inventory of Weller estate).

1899 - W L Weller dies. (Inventory of Weller estate).

o - William LaRue Weller died in Ocala Fla. on March 23,
1899. He died of "Chronic Spasmadic Asthma with Heart
Complications". He is buried in Cave Hill Cemetary
(Cave Hill Cemetary Records, Filson Club).

o - Bernheim Bros. buys a larger store and sells their old
location (on Main between 1rst and 2nd) to W L Weller
and Sons. (Bernheim Family History, I W Bernheim, U of
L Archives).

1900 - Stitzel distillery wins a Certificate of Distinction at
the Centennial Exposition in Paris. (UD Archives,
992.m.94).

o - Mammoth Cave Bourbon is advertised as a 16 year old Bottled in Bond by W G Coldewey & Co. in the Wine and Spirits Bulletin (Jan.1, 1900).

o - A photograph of W L Weller and Sons building and description of the firm is on page 14 of the Sept.1, 1900 issue of the Wine and Spirits Bulletin. List John C Weller and George P Weller as owners and Creedmore as their principle brand.

o - John Weller and Ed Babbit attend a meeting of spirit producers held in Cincinnati (Wine and Spirit Bulletin, Oct.1, 1900, page 17).

1901 - W L Weller advertisement in the Wine and Spirits Bulletin has Creedmore and Old Royal as their brands (Jan.1, 1901, page 3).

o - John Weller and "a large party of people" are going to spend the summer in the northwest (Wine and Spirits Bulletin, July 1, 1901, page 22).

o - S C Herbst registers the following brands in the brands in the Wine and Spirits Bulletin: Benson Creek, Jno E Fitzgerald, and Old Judge (July 1, 1901, page 27).

o - Louisville hosts the Knights Templar's Triennial Conclave. Louisville distillers put up electric light displays in front of their stores, including W. L. Weller and Sons (Wine and Spirits Bulletin, Oct. 1, 1901, p.20).

1903 - Stitzel Bros. Distillery moved to 1033 Story Ave., on
the north-west corner with Buchanan. (Louisville City
Directory, U of L Archives).

o - Weller's Cabin Still trademark is registered (Liquor Store Magazine, Feb., 1970).

1904 - Alex T Farnsley joins the firm of W L Weller &
Sons. (Who's Who in Louisville, 1923, edition).

o - Philip Stitzel dies on April 6. He leaves in trust to his children four shares each of Stitzel Distilling Company, valued at $1,000.00 each. This is in addition to the four shares alredy owned by his son A. Ph. Stitzel (Will Book 26, page 3).

o - S C Herbst returns from Europe where he has established agencies for selling Old Fitzgerald in Italy, Germany, France and England (Wine and Spirits Bulletin, May 1, 1904, page 19).

o - S C Herbst first advertises his products in the Wine and Spirits Bulletin (June 1, 1904, page 33).

o - The John E Fitzgerald Distillery Company builds a new "Bottling in Bond" plant for their overseas business (Wine and Spirits Bulletin, June 1, 1904, pages 43 & 44).

o - John Weller of W L Weller and Sons vacations in Michigan for health reasons. It is reported that he may be just "looking for a new audience for his famous old stories" (Wine and Spirits Bulletin, July 1, 1904, page 29).

o - S C Herbst names Ira Levison as Eastern Reprentative for Old Fitzgerald (Wine and Spirits Bulletin, Nov. 1, 1904, pages 29 & 30).

1905 - Mondamin whiskey trademark is registered by A Ph
Stitzel Co. (U D Archives, 993.m.6).

o - J P Van Winkle marries Katie Smith. (UD Archives,
992.m.161).

o - S C Herbst advertises Old Fitzgerald in the Wine and Spirits Bulletin (Jan. 12, 1905, page 30).

1906 - Jno. E. Fitzgerald advertisment in Mida's Criterian
shows that S C Herbst of Milwaukee, Wis. is Distiller
and proprieter and offices in Chicago, New York,
London, Paris, Berlin, and Genoa. (UD Archives
991.m.13). S C Herbst is a large importer/exporter of
spirits with a national reputation. He also purchases the Old Judge distillery (Wine and Spirits Bulletion,
Louisville Public Library).

1907 - W.L. Weller and Sons advertises in the booklet for the Greater Louisville Exposition, March 18-30, 1907. Their brands are Mammoth Cave, Harlem Club, Silas B. Johnson, and Hollis Pure Rye (Filson Club Library, Pamphlet 606, G786).

1908 - J P Van Winkle and Alex T Farnsley gain controling
interest in W L Weller and Sons. (UD Archives,
992.m.67).

o - Alex T. Farnsley is elected Vice President, J P Van
Winkle is elected Secretary-Treasure. George Weller
remains President. (W L Weller & Sons letterhead).

o - Alex T. Farnsley gains 1/2 interest in W. L. Weller and Sons (Who's Who in Louisville, 1926 Edition).

1911 - An advertisment for Mondamin whiskey appears in the
Louisville Courier-Journal Newspaper. (UD Archives,
991.m.139).

o - A Ph Stitzel contracts to make 100 barrels of whiskey
for George H Fredrick Co. (UD Archives, 993.m.6).

o - The Stitzel Distilling Company files for new articles of Incorporation placing the value of the Capital Stock at $100,000.00 (Wine and Spirits Bulletin, March 1, 1911, page 69.)

o - The Stitzel Distillery sends dealers a small mirror and perpetual calander paper weight (Wine and Spirits Bulletin, August 1, 1911, page 47).

o - John C Weller fights with a burglar at his home. The burglar draws a gun, but it mis-fires, so he draws a knife. John's struggle and his wife's scream forces the burglar to run (Wine and Spirits Bulletin, Dec.1, 1911, page 50).

o - The 1911 Mida's Financial Index list the following addresses and capital values for these companies: Stoll & Co., Distillers, Proprietors of: Old Tarr Distillery, Dy. No. 1, 7th Dist. Lexington, Ky. Old Elk Distillery, Dy. No. 12, 7th Dist. Lexington, Ky. Bond and Lillard, Dy No. 274, 8th Dist., Lawrenceburg, Ky. total capital value of $500,000 to $600,000. Stitzel Distilling Co. 1033 Stroy Ave. Dy. No. 17, 5th Dist., Louisville, Ky. $100,000 to $125,000. W L Weller and Sons, 121 W Main St., Louisville, Ky. $150,000 to $175,000. Jno. C Weller Co. 205 W Main St. Louisville, Ky. $75,000 to $100,000. Block, Frank and Co. 300 W Main St., Louisville, Ky. $40,000 to $50,000. S C Herbst Importing Co 401 Chestnut St., Milwaukee, Wis. mian office, Distillery, Old Judge Distillery, Dy. No. 11, 7th Dist. Frankfort, Ky.$250,000 to $300,000.

1912 - A Ph Stitzel Co. makes a contract with Victor Shwab to
rent his distillery to Geo Dickel Co. Dickel agrees to
pay for the special "leeching process" and retains
ownership of the machinery and forumla. Stitzel
recieves rent for distillery and storage of finished
product. (UD Archives, 993.m.6).

o - A Ph Stitzel contracts to make 1,000 barrels of whiskey
for W L Weller and Sons. The contract actually leases
the distillery to W L Weller and Sons so that they can
be listed as the distillers (UD Archives, 993.m.6).

o - George P Weller retires as president of W L Weller and
Sons, but keeps the title untill 1920. (Filson Club
Geneolgy file on Weller family).

o - John H Weller dies and his will is filed with the
County.

o - A W L Weller "Mammoth Cave" advertisment with Stitzel listed as distiller appears on page 68 of every 1912 issue of Wine and Spirit Bulletin.

o - A S C Herbst advertisment for Old Judge and Old Fitzgerald appears on page 74 of every issue of the 1912 Wine and Spirit Bulletin.

1913 - W L Weller sells 3 case of Cabin Still to T H Hynes.
(UD Archives, 991.m.18).

o - Stitzel contracts to make an additional 500 barrels for
Weller. (UD Archives, 993.m.6).

o - The Louisville Courier-Journal releases a special
"Southern Prosperity" edition. S C Herbst has an
article where he proclaims that his Old Judge and Old
Fitzgerald brands are the last "Old Fashioned Copper
POT Distilled Whiskeys".

o - John C Weller Co merges with John T Barbee & Co and is made President after Herman F Volkerding dies. He in turn resigns shortly there after (Wine and Spirit Bulletin, Jan. 1, 1913, page 69).

1915 - A Ph Stitzel contracts to make 210 barrels for William
Deddens Co. (UD Archives, 993.m.6).

1916 - A Ph Stitzel contracts to make 500 barrels of whiskey
for George H Fredrick Co. (UD Archives, 993.m.6).

1918 - A Ph Stitzel buys the Stitzel Bros. Distillery for
$25,000. (Courier-Journal article, Oct. 31, 1918,
Section 1, page 12, column 7).

o - John C Weller dies on March 31 and leaves a will with the county.

1919-1933 - W L Weller and Sons pay G A Dickel Co. a 50 cents
a case royalty on Cascade Whiskey sold. They are also
buying bourbon from J W Dant Distillery.(UD Archives,
Uncataloged ledger).

o - A Ph Stitzel, with the help of W L Weller and Sons,
begin to get distillers who were no longer in business
to store their whiskey in their warehouse. This leads
to the government officially recognizing them as a
consolidation warehouse for spirits (UD Archives,
993.m.6).

o - During prohibition the Stitzel distillery had about 24
employees; 14 men and 10 women (UD Archives, 993.m.1).

o - During prohibition Stitzel was bottling Cabin Still and
Mammoth Cave brands from the same whiskey. Cabin Still
was either pre-war (WWI) J W Dant, or Wright and Taylor
(probobly Old Charter) (UD Archives, 993.m.29).

1920 - A Ph Stitzel receives a license to make "medicinal
whiskey". (UD Archives, 992.m.67).

1921 - W L Weller is not even listed in the Louisville City
Directory and A.T. Farnsley and J.P. Van Winkle are
listed as officers for Red Chief Manufacturing, Corn
Shellers at 704 East Main (U of L Archives).

o - A Ph Stitzel is incorporated on July 5, 1921 (U D Archives, 991.m.155).

1922 - Stitzel operates under the name "A.Ph. Stitzel" and is
one of four distillery licensees in Kentucky and
produced many of the noted Kentucky bourbons during the
interim (American Wine and Liquor Journal, 1937, Filson
Club).

o - W L Weller appears once again in the Louisville City
Directory with and address of 126 West Main (U of L
Archives).

o - W. L. Weller and Sons pays S. C. Herbst $2,000 for the rights to the Old Fitzgerald Brand. They make a second payment of $2,000 in 1925 (U.D. Archive, Uncataloged Ledger).

1928 - Stitzel purchases all of the H McKenna and J W Dant
whiskey being stored in the Stitzel Consolidation
Warehouse (U D Archives, 993.m.61).

1929 - W L Weller moves to 1151 Starks Building (Louisville
City Directory, U of L Archives).

1930 - George P Weller dies. Survived by his son G. Larue
Weller. (Filson Club Geneology file on Weller family).

1933 - Stitzel joins Weller to form Stitzel-Weller. (N Morgan,
18/11/91).

o - Stitzel-Weller buys Old Fitzgerald. (UD Archives,
992.m.67). The 1933 bottling of Old Fitzgerald at the
Getz Bourbon Museum has the S C Herbst Xed out with W
L Weller and Sons typed under the crossed out name.

1934 - Stitzel-Weller builds Shively, Kentucky distillery.
(UD Archives, 991.m.32).

o - Letterhead from a 1934 letter from A Ph Stitzel
Distillery states that it was the common storage
warehouse for many brands of bourbon including J W Dant
and Henry McKenna (U D Archives, Uncataloged Item).

o - J P Van Winkle is made a special Vice President of H
McKenna Inc. in charge of sales so that he could sell
at least 500 barrels of whiskey for McKenna (UD
Archives, 993.m.15).

o - Somerset Importers Ltd. starts to distribute Johnnie Walker in the United States (Liquor Store Magazine, 2/70).

1935 - Stitzel-Weller's new Shively distillery is opened on
Derby Day. (UD Archives, 992.m.67).

o - W L Weller and Sons opens an office at 117 West Main
Street. (Louisville City Directory, U of L Archives).

o - Stitzel-Weller is established as a subsidiary company owned by A Ph Stitzel Distillery (U D Archive, 991.m.155)

1936 - Rebel Yell created to personify the South by Charlie
Farnsley, a nephew of Alex T Farnsley, a Stitzel-
Weller executive. Originally on a limited, personally
controlled distribution. Charlie went on to become the
Mayor of Louisville and a Kentucky Congressman. (N
Morgan 18/11/91 and the Kentucky Encyclopedia p 309).

o - A Ph Stitzel Distillery changes its name to Stitzel-Weller on Nov. 25, 1936 (U D Archive, 991.m.155).

1937 - Cascade Whisky leaves Stitzel-Weller and goes to
Schenley. (1937 Report on Distilled Spirits).

o - The Stitzel Distillery No.17 is sold and all goods are
transfered to the distillery No.16, Stitzel-Weller
(American Wine and Liquor Journal, 1937, Filson Club).

1938 - The Stitzel Distillery is no longer listed in the
Louisville City Directory (U of L Archives).

1941 - Alex T Farnsley dies. (UD Archives, 992.m.94).

o - ied on Oct 28 after suffering a stroke in his home at 1347 South Third Street. He was an activist in the Democratic Party, a member of the Pendennis Club, Louisville Country Club, and Filson Club. He was a charter member of Big Spring Golf Club. Alex was born in Louisville, Attended Male High School. His first job was with Kentucky National Bank. He then worked for American Tobacco Company before W.L. Weller and Sons in 1904. Alex became half owner in Weller in 1908 (Courier-Journal Obituary, Oct. 29, 1941).

1943 - Cabin Still is withdrawn from the market because of a whiskey shortage due to the war (Liquor Store Magazine, Feb., 1970).

1947 - A Ph Stitzel dies. (UD Archives, 992.m.94).

1951 - Stitzel-Weller makes their first decanter bottles (Kovel's Bottles 9th Ed., Old Fitzgerald).

1953 - J P Van Winkle publishes a series of articles extolling
moderation and the virtues of Old Fitzgerald. (UD
Archives, 992.m.161).

1954 - Very Old Fitzgerald wins the Premium Quality Medal of
Leadership at Brussels. (UD Archives, 992.m.155).

1957 - Stitzel-Weller makes the private label for Hilton
Hotels. (UD Archive 991.m.20).

1961 - Rebel Yell relaunched to commemorate the centennial of
the American Civil War. (C Morris, Glenmore, 14/8/92).

o - Local 36, Distillery Rectifying, Wine and Allied Workers International Union of America, AFL-CIO start a strike at Stitzel-Weller (U D Archive, Uncataloged Manuscript).

1962 - Union officials of the DRWAW call upon a union boycott of Stitzel-Weller products in a letter to all AFL-CIO members dated Nov. 26, 1962 (U D Archive, Uncataloged File).

1964 - Old Fitzgerald Prime, 86.8 proof straight bourbon is introduced. This is the first Old Fitzgerald Bourbon that was not a bottled-in-bond bourbon to be sold by Stitzel-Weller (Louisville Times, Sept. 30, 164).

o - Julian Van Winkle Sr. retires and names Julian Van Winkle Jr. president of Stitzel-Weller (Louisville Times, Sept. 30, 1964).

1965 - J P Van Winkle Dies. His son Julian takes over as
president of Stitzel-Weller. (UD Archives, 992.m.161).

o - On March 3, 1965, Charles Farnsley of Kentucky recognizes Julian P. Van Winkle's life and death on the floor of Congress with several newspaper obituaries being added to the pages of the Congressional Record (U D Archive, Uncataloged File).

1966 - Very Very Old Fitzgerald is exported to France for the first time. It is done so because of request from French connoisseurs (Kentucky Beverage Journal, Jan. 1966).

o - Stitzel-Weller unveil the "Pappy" Van Winkle Fitz Mist Award to honor the memory of the late "Pappy" Van Winkle (Bev. Media, July 1966, p. 90).

1972 - Stitzel-Weller is purchased by Norton-Simon Inc., who
make it part of Somerset Imports. (UD Archives,
991.m.32).

o - Stitzel-Weller name is changed to Old Fitzgerald to
honor their best selling brand. (UD Archives,
991.m.32).

1984 - Old Fitzgerald is purchased by DLC. (C Morris,
Glenmore, 15/11/91).

1986 - DLC joins with Guiness. (C Morris, Glenmore, 15/11/91).

1992 - Guiness changes name of Old Fitzgerald back to Stitzel-
Weller. (M Veach, 14/8/92).

o - The Shively Stitzel-Weller distillery is closed (M
Veach, 28/1/93).

1993 - The Cabin Still label is sold to Heaven Hill (M Veach,
8/3/1993).

o - United Distillers announces the downsizing of US production facilities. The bottling line a the Stitzel-Weller distillery will be closed in the next 18 months (M Veach, 28/5/1993).

1994 - W L Weller Centennial and Very Special Old Fitzgerald are introduced as part of the Heritage Collection (M Veach 3/25/96).

o - The bottling line is closed in December at the Stitzel-Weller site and moved to Owensboro (M Veach, 3/25/96).

Mike Veach
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Unread postby bourbonv » Thu Jul 21, 2005 6:55 pm

There is a prime example here to the warning I gave about looking at sources when using these time lines. The 1849 section includes a story from a 1970 trade magazine about Weller putting a green thumbprint on every barrel - it reaks of marketing and should not be taken seriously, but was included so that we could always trace the source if we needed to do so.

Mike Veach
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Unread postby bunghole » Wed Jul 27, 2005 4:42 pm

That's a very salient point, Mike. Also the entry about John E. Fitzgerald builds a distillery in Louisville deserves further explaination.

I think that some folks might just read or printout your timelines and take each entry for gospel.

Linn
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Unread postby Joeluka » Wed Mar 01, 2006 1:15 pm

Did Norton-Simon Inc., who made SW part of Somerset Imports continue putting out the Old Rip Van Winkle Decanters after 1972? I have an ORW Decanter from 1975 and it says its the Old Rip Van Winkle Distellery from Lousiville and the bourbon is 7 yr old and 86 proof. The decanter is full by the way. The label looks just like an empty ORW decanter from 1971 and this one says Stitzler-Weller Distiellery and its filled Old Fitz Prime. Is this whiskey Old Fitz Prime????
Joeluka
 

Unread postby bourbonv » Wed Mar 01, 2006 3:38 pm

Actually Julian Van Winkle Jr. put out the decanter after 1972, purchasing whiskey from Stitzel-Weller to place in the decanters. Norton Simon did a few more decanters after 1972 but very quickly got out of the decanter business.

Mike Veach
Mike Veach
"Our people live almost exclusively on whiskey" - E H Taylor, Jr. 25 April 1873
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Unread postby angelshare » Thu Jun 29, 2006 7:38 pm

Professor Veach, Professor Veach! A question regarding:

1992 - Guiness changes name of Old Fitzgerald back to Stitzel-
Weller. (M Veach, 14/8/92).


Does this mean that for a brief period of time in the early 1990's, there was only S-W brand bourbon and no OF until HH bought the label?

The reason we ask is this: we've got a bottle of Old Fitz BIB "distilled, aged and bottled by Old Fitzgerald Distillery" with a slightly different looking label than the current HH one. Based on the glass markings, we THINK it was bottled in 1993. If this is S-W, and our interpretation of the glass marking is correct (two significant "ifs," of course), we were having trouble reconciling how our bottle falls into the timeline.
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Unread postby cowdery » Fri Jun 30, 2006 3:35 am

Mike's statement should have read: "1992 - Guinness changes name of Old Fitzgerald Distillery back to the Stitzel-Weller Distillery. (M Veach, 14/8/92)."

There never was a Stitzel-Weller brand of whiskey, and there was no interruption in the selling of Old Fitzgerald. The basic expressions, such as Old Fitz Prime and Old Fitz BIB were probably SW whiskey until 1997, or thereabouts, when the wheated bourbon made at Bernheim came of age. That has continued to be the source under Heaven Hill, which now owns that distillery.

So, post-prohibition, and leaving aside some possible very brief aberrations (e.g., Buffalo Trace making some), all Old Fitzgerald products are either SW or Bernheim (and, specifically, new, post-1992 Bernheim).

So if the bottle you have is, in fact, from 1993, it is SW whiskey.

What DSP no. is on the label?
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Unread postby angelshare » Fri Jun 30, 2006 7:11 am

Thanks, Chuck - the DSP is KY 16.
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Unread postby EllenJ » Fri Jun 30, 2006 7:49 am

cowdery wrote:.. .There never was a Stitzel-Weller brand of whiskey, and there was no interruption in the selling of Old Fitzgerald

Although that's true for any of the Old Fitzgerald expressions one is likely to come across today, there WAS a pre-prohibition version whose only relationship was that S-W bought the brand name. The distillery was the John E. Fitzgerald and I believe the brand was simply called "Jno. E. Fitzgerald", and not "Old" Fitzgerald. It was a premium product, marketed through only finer clubs, steamships, and railroads, and thus had a very topshelf reputation. Pappy Van Winkle liked to leave the impression that the S-W product was a continuation of that same whiskey, although it bore no relationship whatsoever, other than legal ownership of the brand. We have many examples of this same marketing decepti... uh, technique today; examples might be the "new" Michter's or J. W. Dant. Note, not all "resurrected" brands are that way. For instance, Jim Beam has tried to preserve (as well as they could) the character of the Old Grand Dad and Old Overholt brands they obtained from National Distillers. And Heaven Hill took great pains to create a completely new (to them) kind of whiskey (wheated, as opposed to rye-style) in order to preserve the integrity of Old Fitzgerald. I'll leave it to forum discussion as to how successful they may have been.
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Unread postby bourbonv » Fri Jun 30, 2006 9:12 am

Chuck is right, the statement should include the word Distillery. Remember, these timelines were simply reference works put together to help Chris Morris and myself keep track of various histories and sometimes they might be a little confusing, because we knew what I meant. If you have questions, please feel free to ask "What the hell do you mean by "____"" and I will be happy to clarify.

John,
Actually the distillery in Frankfort where Old Fitzgerald was made was the Old Judge Distillery. The brand did start as "Jno. E. Fitzgerald" but by 1900 it was simplified to "Old Fitzgerald".

The Stitzel-Weller Distillery name was changed to the Old Fitzgerald Distillery in the early 1970's after the distillery was sold to Norton-Simon. This was done because Old Fitzgerald was the biggest selling product from the distillery as well as a way to signify different ownership.

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Unread postby cowdery » Fri Jun 30, 2006 7:29 pm

EllenJ wrote: The distillery was the John E. Fitzgerald and I believe the brand was simply called "Jno. E. Fitzgerald", and not "Old" Fitzgerald. It was a premium product, marketed through only finer clubs, steamships, and railroads, and thus had a very topshelf reputation. Pappy Van Winkle liked to leave the impression that the S-W product was a continuation of that same whiskey, although it bore no relationship whatsoever, other than legal ownership of the brand. We have many examples of this same marketing decepti... uh, technique today....


Interestingly enough, John, what you have just repeated was a marketing decepti... uh, technique too. Later, better, research has revealed that the Herbst Company of Milwaukee, a wholesaler, created the Fitzgerald brand and along with it, the mythology of Fitzgerald's distillery in Frankfort, the marketing through clubs and railroads, etc. The real John Fitzgerald was the gauger at Old Judge, who helped himself when he had a thirst and always seemed to pick the best barrels. It started as an inside joke at Herbst to call a particularly good barrel of whiskey "a Fitzgerald." When they decided to create a new, premium brand, that seemed like the perfect name for it.

The pictures of the "Old Fitzgerald Distillery" used in pre-prohibition advertising are clearly doctored photographs of Old Judge.

When Pappy Van Winkle bought the brand name during prohibition he also got the "story," which continuted to be sold...I mean, told...and is still told by Heaven Hill today, though to their credit they tell both stories.

But you are absolutely right that whatever the whiskey may have been that was sold as Old Fitzgerald before prohibition, it bore no resemblance to the Van Winkle Old Fitzgerald.
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Unread postby Mike » Fri Jun 30, 2006 8:19 pm

angelshare wrote:Thanks, Chuck - the DSP is KY 16.


I have a bottle of Old Fitzgerald BIB with all the same characteristics (including the KY 16 DSP). I am not familiar with what the numbers on the bottom of the bottle mean, but the numbers 01 and 94 are there, along with 16 A and something that looks like DD. It is a liter bottle I bought in Cumberland, KY at a place that was going out of business. I paid $15 for it.........what a bargain! Whatever the provenance of it, it is excellent bourbon in my opinion!!
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Unread postby bourbonv » Sat Jul 01, 2006 10:14 am

Chuck,
There actually is no proof that Fitzgerald was a guager or even in Kentucky. The letter that everybody uses to make this claim simply says that he ahd the warehouse keys. It does not even say the Kentucky warehouse keys - he could have worked at the Herbst office in Milwaukee. When I get time, I will send you a digital scan of the Bixler letter that was sent to me.

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Unread postby EllenJ » Sat Jul 01, 2006 4:54 pm

I've read that story as well, but I always thought of THAT one as the obvious fabrication. I just shows you never can tell.
Still, the general gist of it -- an insider who can have his pick of anything at the distillery personally chose THIS particular barrel as his favorite and we bottled the rest of the contents just for you -- still strikes me as just a bit suspect.
Of course, it's possible that the owners of Old Judge palmed that one off on Pappy (they say the best storytellers are also the most gullible listeners), but I'd be more inclined to suspect he hatched the whole thing (photo retouchings and all) himself.
And for those readers not familiar with this ongoing theme, I don't mean to imply anything derogatory by these observations. I have enormous respect for whiskeymen, fishermen, salesmen, and other tall-tale artists. My father could sell you your own underwear and charge you for custom-fitting, and you'd gladly stand in line to buy 'em! I feel those of us who understand that aspect of the whiskey-biz get more enjoyment and a better appreciation than do those who are True Believers.
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Unread postby cowdery » Sat Jul 01, 2006 7:01 pm

EllenJ wrote:Still, the general gist of it -- an insider who can have his pick of anything at the distillery personally chose THIS particular barrel as his favorite and we bottled the rest of the contents just for you -- still strikes me as just a bit suspect.


First of all, John, come on, that's not what it says at all, not even remotely, and it wouldn't, since the gauger story wasn't promulgated by someone trying to sell whiskey or anything else. It was put out there by Sally Van Winkle, researched for her by Sam Thomas. The only disagreement I have with her is that she thinks Pappy believed the original story and didn't know the later one, while I suspect he did.

Mike is correct that the conclusion that Fitzgerald was the "government man" at Old Judge is mine. He may have been at a bonded warehouse at another location, but why would Herbst have a bonded warehouse at a location other than at his sole Kentucky distillery? However, Sam Cecil's statement (undoubtedly from Whit Coyte) that Fitzgerald went on to be the "superintendent" of a distillery in Hammond, Indiana, which is in my neck of the woods (i.e., Chicago), puts him nearer to Milwaukee (where Herbst was based) than to Frankfort, Kentucky. So maybe he wasn't at Old Judge.

I wonder, Mike, if you have ever asked Mary Hite about this, as she is Tom Bixler's granddaughter (i.e., Claude's grand-niece).

That Fitzgerald was a gauger seems beyond doubt as "a certain individual who carried keys to a bonded warehouse" seems unlikely to refer to anything else. Even the owner of the distillery would not have had those keys.

It also seems beyond doubt that there never was an Old Fitzgerald Distillery (until Norton-Simon renamed SW) except as a DBA for Old Judge.

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