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View Full Version : Who Knows Lawrenceburg's Story?



cowdery
06-16-2010, 23:21
Does anyone know the history of the distillery at Lawrenceburg, Indiana, that is now owned by Angostura? I know they bought it from Pernod, which acquired it in the Seagrams break-up. I know it makes both GNS and whiskey, and has aging warehouses. I know its grain is supplied by a nearby silo which Angostura also owns and which has been co-owned with the distillery since at least the Seagrams days. This came up because of a thread in Collectibles about some Old Quaker bottles that say Lawrenceburg, IN on them. I think I've heard bits and pieces about it. What do you know?

Gillman
06-17-2010, 04:48
This is not a direct answer but this 1941 early advertorial-style piece from Life Magazine gives some information, it states the distillery was founded by two men 100 years earlier, which would place the founding about 1840. There is a generalized but still interesting sketch of the production process.

http://books.google.ca/books?id=jUwEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA20&dq=Lawrenceburg+Indiana+distillery&hl=en&ei=5wgaTPT0NoO0lQeotJHPCg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CDYQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=Lawrenceburg%20Indiana%20distille

Note the reference to the whiskey (straight, available "in bourbon or rye") having the quality a rich man seeks. The same idea was still being used 35 years later, as we saw from the labeling of the Quaker bottle being discussed in the other thread.

Gary

Gillman
06-17-2010, 05:11
Further gleanings from Google Books: Seagram, run by the Bronfmans of Montreal, bought Rossville Union Distilleries in 1933 in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, as part of its strategy to supply whiskey domestically (not just as an export) to the U.S. in the post-Prohibition era. It bought Calvert some years later for the same reason, in Maryland.

There were originally three distilleries in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, one was established by the Walsh family in 1933, but I believe what became Quaker was the Rossville Distillery mentioned. Its roots were very old, at least back to 1840 judging by the Life article, and other sources suggest distilling started on the site as early as 1809.

Gary

Josh
06-17-2010, 05:52
This history of Dearborn Co. is full of information, although it's kind of a mess: http://www.archive.org/stream/historyofdearbor02shaw/historyofdearbor02shaw_djvu.txt

Gary is right. The Rossville distilleries' pre-pro page is here: http://www.pre-pro.com/midacore/list_warehouses.php?state=IN&district=6&still=7

The other two distilleries were the Squibb distillery (the former Schenley plant) and the Greendale Distillery. Not sure what happened to the Greendale one.

bourbonv
06-17-2010, 06:12
The Old Quaker brand, post prohibition, was a Schenley brand made at their distillery that was close to the Seagrm plant. The last I heard, John Allison the former Stitzel-Weller/Bernheim/Dickel Vice President on United distillers Production had bought the plant for the bottling operation and was doing independent bottling there.

Mike Veach

CorvallisCracker
06-17-2010, 10:41
Don't know their history, but they have a web site:

http://www.lawrenceburgdistillersindiana.com/

Clicking on the "Customized Gin and Whiskey" link leads to a fascinating page. Apparently they are producing "2,100,000 pg" (proof gallons - I'm assuming this is annual output) of five different whiskies, a corn whiskey, three bourbons and a rye. My guess is that most of this is destined for blends, but I recollect reading about a Australia-only bourbon - Cougar - that is made here.

bourbonv
06-17-2010, 11:10
"pg" is proof gallons - A gallon of 100 proof alcohol. They are making more than a few barrels of whiskey.

Mike Veach

Josh
06-17-2010, 11:25
"pg" is proof gallons - A gallon of 100 proof alcohol. They are making more than a few barrels of whiskey.

Mike Veach

Mike, do you know anything about this third distillery, Greendale? All I've been able to find out it that it was owned by the Rodenburg family and operated up through prohibition.

Gillman
06-17-2010, 12:55
Here is a contemporary description of Lawrenceburg distilleries from the legendary Federal Writers Project.

http://books.google.com/books?id=8iFZ90Uw3jEC&pg=PA364&dq=lawrenceburg+indiana+distilleries&hl=en&ei=WnsaTNaHAYzrnQf0guSWCg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CDYQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q&f=false

It appears from this there were 4 distilleries:

- a plant in Greendale (adjoining L'burg) started in 1809, owned by Schenley (thus Old Quaker as the FWP states)

- the second Quaker distillery, bought by Schenley in 1933, set up by Squibbs in 1866

- The James Walsh Distillery, newly set up in 1933 by the O'Shaughnessy family

- The Seagram plant, bought in 1933 by Seagram, and clearly this was originally the Rossville Union Distillery plant.

Gary

Josh
06-17-2010, 12:59
Here is a contemporary description of Lawrenceburg distilleries from the legendary Federal Writers Project.

http://books.google.com/books?id=8iFZ90Uw3jEC&pg=PA364&dq=lawrenceburg+indiana+distilleries&hl=en&ei=WnsaTNaHAYzrnQf0guSWCg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CDYQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q&f=false

It appears from this there were 4 distilleries:

- a plant in Greendale (adjoining L'burg) started in 1809, owned by Schenley (thus Old Quaker as the FWP states)

- the second Quaker distillery, bought by Schenley in 1933, set up by Squibbs in 1866

- The James Walsh Distillery, newly set up in 1933 by the O'Shaughnessy family

- The Seagram plant, bought in 1933 by Seagram, and clearly this was originally the Rossville Union Distillery plant.

Gary

I see, so the Greendale and Squibb distilleries were both Schenley at one point. Thanks Gary!

It's funny, it seems like they all offered tours too. :)

bourbonv
06-17-2010, 13:01
Greendale and Squibb were consolidated during prohibition as Schenley purchased their warehouse receipts.

Mike Veach

Gillman
06-17-2010, 13:07
Interesting that web site, what does 1.25 %, 40% and 25% mean in the bourbon mash descriptions? It can't be the percentage of all their bourbon represented by each mash bill since it doesn't add to 100.

The use of the term "exotic mashes" is interesting, could that be directed to the non-distilling craft whiskey vendors? Their rye whiskey is almost all rye. And a bourbon is 99% corn but their corn whiskey seems much more like a high-corn bourbon mash. Most interesting, familiar and yet different at the same time.

Gary

Gillman
06-17-2010, 13:13
On the about LDI page on the link Scott posted it states Rossville Distillery was established in 1847, so the information in the Life Magazine article on the 100 year antiquity was (approximately) correct.

Gary

CorvallisCracker
06-17-2010, 13:34
Interesting that web site, what does 1.25 %, 40% and 25% mean in the bourbon mash descriptions?

My guess is that it's the percentage of the mash that's not corn, although that leads to the question, "Then why is the bourbon that has 1% malt called '1.25% bourbon'?"


The use of the term "exotic mashes" is interesting, could that be directed to the non-distilling craft whiskey vendors?

I wondered that too. I also wondered what I would do if I won $50 million in the PowerBall lottery, whether I'd go to the trouble of building my own distillery or just contracting with LDI to make it according to my specs.

After all, under current US law, I could still claim it came from my own distillery. I could call it Old Potemkin Distillery (Chuck would like that).


Their rye whiskey is almost all rye. And a bourbon is 99% corn but their corn whiskey seems much more like a high-corn bourbon mash.

I suspect the 81% corn mash is being produced and sold as "Corn Whiskey" for some other company, and that's why LDI calls it that. The 99% stuff is probably used in a blend, perhaps Seagram's Seven. I'll bet that's where the rye goes as well.

sku
06-17-2010, 13:44
High West uses a 95% rye in its Bourye and it's often thought to have come from LDI.

cowdery
06-17-2010, 22:25
I don't think there is any question that the aged whiskeys bottled by High West, Templeton, and probably others were made at LDI.

cowdery
06-17-2010, 22:35
http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=5072&d=1200854318

According to the back of this undated postcard, this building houses the offices and employee cafeteria. It says there has been a distillery there for 140 years. The complex includes 92 buildings on 226 acres.

Rughi
06-17-2010, 23:54
I don't think there is any question that the aged whiskeys bottled by High West, Templeton, and probably others were made at LDI.

Some, yes.
All, no.

The Bourye on shelves now probably doesn't have any LDI whiskey in it.

Roger

cowdery
06-18-2010, 11:44
Some, yes.
All, no.

The Bourye on shelves now probably doesn't have any LDI whiskey in it.

Roger

All of the Templeton, yes. Maybe not all of the High West, possibly.