View Full Version : My Memories of Kinsey Distilling Part III

dave ziegler
12-16-2006, 11:33
I will never forget the Last day we worked before Christmas day 1969, from 8;00-AM on all day people were filling bottles in the Plant and drinking up a storm! I visited the Goverment Building around Lunch and half of them were already out of it, these were the ones who were supposed to keep watch on all the None Taxed Alohol! People had run the soda machine out by 11:00 AM and no one seemed to be working. At the end of the day just about everyone in the warehousing part of the Plant were bombed out! I later heard the Bottling was doing ok that way also! When I went to leave that night Security Leaned out of the Little building and swaying a little told me to have a good Christmas even He had too much! The Plant had such an old system of heating the Warehouses that if it would have not gone out of Bussiness they would have had a real time of heating things today! We had two Giant Coal Boilers and a Giant Oil Boiler out front near the old Still and the heat for all the warehouses which ran down a cement Highway on each side through the Plants 199 acres had a system of Pipes wrapped in Asbestos in the air on uprights the kind of Asbestos that blew everywhere! Also Pipes running in the air for Whiskey that was dumped to run to the Blend house at the very Back of the plant on the way to the River and steer Pens, and then it would go down another system of pipes to the Bottling house out front! Some days when you went into a warehouse that had not been open for awhile you could almost get drunk on the Fumes! I remmeber one time in the bottling House they decided to watch an old lady that had come to the Plant to work because of her amount of years from the old Continenal bottling house when they closed it. It seemed she said she was cold all the time and wore a Heavy sort of sweater, well one day at the end of the day they decided they wanted to know why she seemed to put on weight at the end of each day so they brought in a Lady Secuity Person to do a search on her, well under the sweater and her blouse was a vest with pockets from top to bottom that were full of 1/2 pints of Whiskey and Scotch, needless to say she was in deep trouble as if the Tax stickers were out of state she could be arested for High jacking the stuff as was the way in the warehouses with no Tax sticker you were sealing untaxed Liquor! They lost so much money on sealing it seemed People just took the chance but if caught not only would you get Jail but sometime they would even take your Home so I was told anyway and I knew of a guy who spent allot of time in jail for doing that there. There was an old man named Clair Von Alt that worked there nice old guy who could not stop drinking. Well he had never learned to read or write and he had a sweet tooth and used to look in peoples lunches when they were not there for candy, well one day he went out sick and did not come back for a week, when he did he told me he spent the week in the Bathroom on the toilet! I later was told by one of the workers that someone had put a large Bar of Chocolate Exlax in their Lunch bag and he had ate the whole thing not knowing because he could not read. We also rolled Dice allot those days when we got a break as the Lunch room was so far down the road most times, One time I started with about a dollar and was up to Fifty dollars and ended up losing it all anyway as they kept you playing till they cleaned you out. There was never a dull day working at Kinsey in Linfield Pa. Again I must say even though the Heating system was not a good thing the Quality of our Product was always top Priority for Publicker they had signes saying make it right we want to always make the best and as far as I think We Did.
Dave z

12-16-2006, 13:30
Dave, your recollections are very interesting including that the warehouses were heated. Sounds like things were rather lively at distilleries in the old days around holiday time anyway. I am sure that has changed.

A number of us are interested in Michter's of Pennsylvania which seemed to have some kind of link to Publicker in Philadelphia. Can you shed any light on that?

E.g., do you recall if whiskey made in Schaefferstown, PA (where Michter's or Pennco as it was known earlier operated into the 1980's) was aged or bottled at Publicker's facilities? Or did the opposite ever happen? Michter's whiskey was bottled in small ceramic jugs, did you ever see those at Publicker?

Also, was Kinsey blended whiskey still being sold in around 1969? When did it leave the market? (I believe no whiskey is sold under that name today).

Thanks for any info and your ongoing recollections (which are informative and entertaining).


dave ziegler
12-17-2006, 19:59
Hi Gary I can't say for sure but I sort of think they may have done some for Mitchers as those years I worked there they started to do allot of custom bottling for companys that could not keep up with their sales needs! I remember they got the old original Kinsey Bottle house running for awhile just to do some Liquior work for Jacquins and there were many others as at that time They had the best Bottling Houses in the country. I did not get in the big bottling house very much but I don't think in the late 1960's they were doing any Kinsey Whiskey, if they were I do not recall seeing any! There two biggest sellers were Old Hickory and they sold allot of Inverhouse Scotch, which by the way is still around before they quit the Bussiness they sold the scotish people the Distillery that they had paid to build there! It is the only Brand I know of theirs that is still around although I think they may have sold the Rittenhouse Rye Brand as I thought I saw someone marketing it again! When they made Kinsey Whiskey there were 4 differant kinds, Silver, Gold, Kinsey and Kinsey Rye! As far as the Ceramic Bottles yes they got into them big and marketed one Of Andy Jackson for Old Hickory also a Liberty Bell full of Old hickory and some others too! So if Michers used that Kind of Bottle most likely we were Bottling it and it would be our Whiskey as when they custom bottled being as big as they were they always did it with their Products, and also that way they knew it would be a good product because at that time They were the Biggest maker of every type of Alcohol for drinking and Industry in the World. Another custom one they did was Red Crown Scotch for A&P stores in the south it was made at The Inverhouse Distillery In Scotland shipped to Phila then to Linfield aged there then bottled for A&P. I have a bottle with that brand Label, we made so many really good Products it is almost impossible for me to ever collect all of them! But I keep looking! I remember the Jacquin deal because I was in the yard crew yet then and we went in to clean the Old Kinsey bottle house which sat next to one of the oldest Warehouses near the river. After we had it all cleaned up they sit up Liquor bottling Machines they were very neat I remember they let us look a bit as they were pleased how fast we got the place clean. It had not been used for years as when they closed the old big bottle house at the Continental Distilling site our brand new big one opened to replace it, but the Jacquins order had them running two of them there. I remember watching the one Machine coating the bottles with sugar before the Jacquins Liquor whatever type went in and it was from barrels brought over by the Old trucks to be blended and sent there. One of the big brands they made of their own was Amaretto Lolita big seller. Years After the Distillery was abandon I went over and most people had no Idea but I knew the one building that was partly burned was the old bottle house so I crawled in and worked my way upstairs and sitting there was a skid of Brand new never used Amaretto Lolita Bottles and a skid of Labels not ruined from the fire someone had set years before so I got two bottles and two Labels and neck labels and being I saw how all the Labels went on when I worked there I made myself two perfect bottles up, also took some pictures as the building was standing but roof partly in. it was hooked to the old Rye Building and I took a picture of the wooden stairs and on the side of them in stencil looking like new yet it says Kinsey Rye building, have a picture in my office of that it was like a old Barn and one of the oldest buildings. Hope this is a Help and if you ever hear anything about their Lemont ILL distillery please let me know as that was a mystery to all of us that worked there even though allot of the bottles had it on the bottom of the label it was bottled in Linfield everything was done there starting in 1966 when I got my job and that is why I got the job as the bottling house brought lots of work to the old Kinsey Site. Oh one last thing when I worked there I talked to an oldtimer that told me till Jake Kinsey died he would always come around to visit he was a consultant after he sold Publicker the bussiness late 30's early Fortys. The old Kinsey bottles say he made sure they kept to his recipe! Hope this was helpful to you and I would almost be willing to bet we bottled lots of stuff for them. People drinking their Jacquins were drinking Publicker products those days and Jacquins got the credit but Publicker made and bottled the stuff! Let me know if you hear anything more about the conection it is very interesting, and if it was good drinking Whiskey I bet lots of it was Publicker!

12-18-2006, 04:33
Thanks Dave, lots of great memories there. I think Kinsey's blends were big in New York City for years and other big centers in the North East. I didn't know they bottled a rye under that name though.


12-18-2006, 20:27
Liberty Bell full of Old hickoryCLs grandmother donated one of these of Mr Bryant to the Getz. We went with them one day and found it among lots of other pieces of his Whiskey Memorabilia.

A visit with CL and his Grandmother Bryant (http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1656/)

12-18-2006, 21:47

I found a picture of my Charter Oak bottle, on the label it states that it was bottled by:

Continental Distilling Co., Linfield, Pa., Lemont, Ill.

On the back label it states:

Genuine copper distilled-Charcoal filtered
Straight Bourbon Whiskey
80 proof
Four years old
Distilled in Penna.

After reading the label for this post, a question is raised...What was meant by "Genuine Copper Distilled"?

Did they use a copper column still or a pot still or other?

Is the reference to Lemont noteworthy?

No mention of Kinsey anywhere...

The picture is not loading...I'll try on the next post.

BTW, the glass has 68 for the date mark on the bottom.

12-18-2006, 21:55
lets try this....

12-19-2006, 00:11
Re Michter's, there is some evidence to suggest that not all of the whiskey Louis Forman sold under the Michter's name was made at the distillery in Schaefferstown that also, at various times, bore that name. Publicker would have been a logical, alternate supplier. There is even better evidence that, at times, the distillery in Schaefferstown did some contract distilling for Publicker.

"Copper distilled" may not mean anything, but it certainly does not automatically mean pot still. Although there has been some whiskey made in all stainless steel column stills, distillers eventually figured out that copper contact is essential and there isn't any American whiskey made today that isn't generously exposed to copper in both the beer still and the doubler.

So, as far as the words "copper distilled" appearing on a label, it's a little like using "sour mash" on a label. Everybody uses the sour mash process, but only a few producers like the words well enough to put them on their label.

12-19-2006, 09:50
I had this bottle in my bar,
It is from the 80's for sure but dont know the exact date.
On the bottom it has 88.

On the label it says ;Bottled By Old Hickory Distillelers Co
Owensboro Ky. 80Proof

No other info.


dave ziegler
12-19-2006, 19:31
First it looks like someone did buy the rights to the Old Hickory name back then as Publicker was gone in 1988! Second as far as the Copper stuff Publicker used to put stuff like that on for Marketing reasons as they thought the customer would enjoy some of the details of the ways of making of their products so they put things on lots of there brands made them stand out from the others. As far as the Lemont IL bussiness it has been driving me nuts for many years, back when I worked there we saw the name but they never really said anything about what went on in Lemont, and looking on the web many times it is as though it never exsisted! Third I want to thank Doug for the picture of the Charter Oak bottle it has been many a year since I saw one of them,and I do not have a charter oak in my collection of Publicker/Continental bottles. Also The company always called the Linfield Plant Publickers Continental Distillery Linfield Plant. But to everyone who lived in Linfield and all of us that worked there it was Kinsey as Jake Kinsey started it all with a farm and some land and he lived out all his last days there. As far as bottling every bit of stuff they bottled was done at Kinsey In linfield as of 1966 that year they closed the Bottle house at the Continental distillery in Phila which was right near their giant Industrial Alcohol plant under the Walt wittman Bridge in Phila. It was to old and the new one at Kinsey was high Tech for those days! If anyone knows someone from the Lemont IL area please ask them about the Plant as it is a mystery I want to find out about!
Dave Z