View Full Version : Whiskey thief...

04-12-2010, 07:10
I think I may have found the long lost whiskey thief from Michter's Distillery in Schaefferstown, PA. I think it also may have been modified over the years. I've been trying to find pictures of whiskey theifs online but they are few and far between and they are often shown sticking into a barrel. Does anyone have good pictures of them? I want to find out if what I have was in fact a whiskey thief and also how to put it back to its original form.

04-12-2010, 07:49
Why not post some pictures of how it looks now.

Also, I'd be wary of trying to undo and changes that have happened to it over the years, as it is always nearly impossible to change things back without losing some of the original charm that has occurred over the years. Leave it as is, and tell the story of the changes.

04-12-2010, 09:56


Any ideas? The handle on the short one is what tipped me off to it's possible past. An ex-employee of Michter's told the guy I bought it from that it may have been the thief and has now been modified to a different purpose. No idea on the second piece. ANY help with these would be appreciated!

04-12-2010, 10:03
I'm not sure, it looks a bit chunky to be a thief...what is that 2" 2.5" across?

04-12-2010, 11:07
2" Type K copper. The solder on the cap over the end opposite the handle is different than the solder on the handle so I think it was added later.

04-12-2010, 11:22
Search google for "barrel thief" instead of "whiskey thief" and I think you will find what you are looking for. They are very straight forward tools. They are usually about an inch wide with a taper at the dipping end and a cap with a small hole on the handle end. They are often made of copper, stainless steel or glass.

I have included a picture of a custom one made by someone at ADI

04-12-2010, 13:35
So if my piece is not a thief, any thoughts on what it could be? Or the other piece? Or was the guy that I bought the stuff from lied to about it being part of a distillery?

04-12-2010, 13:54
My first thought was that it looked way too shiny to have seen much use. Beyond that, I don't have a clue.

04-12-2010, 16:33
It's been thoroughly cleaned by someone. There are remnants of red paint on the solder joints of both pieces.

04-19-2010, 13:19
Does the longer one have a screen or holes in the silver area? Buffalo Trace has a very similar looking device for sampling fermentors. The bottom valve is closed and it is dropped into the fermentor. The thin portion of the beer will pass through the screen and when the sampler is pulled out, the valve is opened to drain the liquid into a cup.

There are two on them at BT, and they are always sitting out. You may even catch them being used if you go on a tour.


04-19-2010, 14:28
Yes. The longer piece does have holes through the silver area. That very well may be the explanation of that piece as it would make complete sense and you just described the piece perfectly. Thanks!!!!

04-20-2010, 07:04
I am looking at these pictures again. On the shorter one, does the dark metal piece taper to a small hole? If so, it could be the top of a whiskey thief and you are just missing the bottom section of it.


04-20-2010, 14:33
The dark metal is actually a screen that is soldered together into a cone shape.

04-20-2010, 15:58
The dark metal is actually a screen that is soldered together into a cone shape.

I'm thinking it may be another sampling device like the first, but this time tied to a cord and dropped in.

04-20-2010, 17:32
That's what I'm thinking. The construction of that piece is really weird. At the bottom end, the pipe is capped off completely with a copper plate. Then as you go towards the top, you have the handle and then at the end you have the removable wire screen. It's almost as if the tube was filled with something and then strained out through the screen. But it's hard to say.