Julian Van Winkle’s Legacy

Julian Van Winkle’s Legacy

Pappy Van Winkle has been on the brain this past week and I realized that it might be a good idea to be clear about what is actually in those very sought after bottles.   I’ve written about Julian Van Winkle Sr. in recent blog posts.  He was the man behind Stitzel-Weller and the establishment of that distillery.  He made Old Fitzgerald bourbon and his son maintained the Old Rip Van Winkle brand copyright after the distillery closed its doors in the 70’s.  United Distillers, which later became Diageo, became owners of Stitzel-Weller, but Julian Van Winkle Jr. maintained access to old stocks from the warehouses.  He (“Pappy’s” son) began bottling those products under the Old Rip Van Winkle label.  In 1981, Julian Van Winkle III became owner of the family...

Julian “Pappy” Van Winkle

Julian “Pappy” Van Winkle

  Everyone knows how hard it is to get their hands on a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle bourbon, but not many know who the man was on the label. “Pappy” Van Winkle (Julian Van Winkle, Sr.) began his whiskey career in 1893 when he became a salesman at W.L. Weller and Son.  He sold brand names such as Old W.L.Weller, Mammoth Cave, Hollis Rye, Cabin Still, Harlem Club, Silas B. Johnson and Stone Root Gin.  His time there was very educational and he soon became a very influential figure in the company.  In 1908, he and fellow salesman Alex Farnsley bought the Weller wholesale business after William Lerue Weller’s death.  W.L.Weller did not have a distillery of its own, but he was able to secure a contract with the Stitzel Distillery in Louisville.  Once Prohibition...

Larceny is the new Old Fitzgerald?

The Larceny brand of bourbon by Heaven Hill is a nod to the legend of John Fitzgerald… Max Shapiro’s daughter, Kate Shapiro Latts, is the business savvy designer of the marketing behind Larceny. Who doesn’t love a good story? (Not to mention a great label) During the Civil War, the Internal Revenue Act of 1862 authorized the Federal government to impose a temporary excise tax on distilled spirits. This act was intended “to provide Internal Revenue to support the Government and to pay Interest on the Public Debt.” The act created the positions of storekeeper and gaugers. Storekeepers oversaw the administrative operations, including records and tax filings. They oversaw physical operations and controlled access to the grains, still,...

Old Fitzgerald- the Survivor.

Old Fitzgerald- the Survivor.

Everyone wants Pappy Van Winkle, but Old Fitzgerald came first. The Old Fitzgerald brand (originally Jn.E.Fitzgerald bourbon) was created by S.C. Herbst around 1870. In the 1890’s Herbst purchased the Old Judge Distillery and renamed it the Old Fitzgerald Distillery. The Old Fitzgerald brand survived Prohibition (It was sold as medicinal whiskey) and was purchased soon after by Pappy Van Winkle for $10,000. He introduced to the recipe “a whisper of wheat” which the Van Winkle line is famous for. It was distilled at Stitzel-Weller until the distillery was sold in 1972 to Norton Simon. It would later be bought by United Distillers (now Diageo). United Distillers built the modern Bernheim Distillery in 1992 and production of the wheated line of...