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View Full Version : My Memories of Kinsey Distilling The End



dave ziegler
03-01-2007, 03:18
In November 2006 I took one last walk through what was once Kinsey Distilling. It was a very hard thing to do seeing everything abandoned. When you looked inside the bottle house that was state of the art when I worked there and which Chucks Grandfather ran so very well water was pouring in from the roof. There were Old refridgerators doors open with food people never ate because when they went to come in the next day the place was closed. I had a friend who worked there and he said that was how it ended up they came in to find the place sealed! The Old Still #12 is torn down just a hole where it was. The 3 old wooden and brick Warehouses down by the River which Jake Kinsey was so proud of have the floors fallen in. The steer Pens down back which men who worked there during the War told me how proud they were there producing alcohol and steers from the mash they fed them for the War all torn down. The lawns I once as a young man so carefully mowed in total ruin. All three of the company houses in ruin including Jake Kinsey's house where Chucks Grandfather lived. A trailer with old Whiskey Labels blowing out in the wind. The old Bottle house falling down. And the power house totally gone. In my mind I could still see the guys on day shift driving the old 1941 Ford flat trucks taking barrels to building M to dump them. It seemed so odd that there was no one there and nothing going on. When I left in 1972 it was a very busy place whiskey coming in to be aged and whiskey being dumped and going to the Bottling house. When it closed in around mid 1986 the Old #12 was still all there and fully sprinkeled someone could have made a museum with the buildings out front that Jake Kinsey built but people never think till it is to late. I have a picture of old #12 about 3 years ago it was still standing then and it was such a neat old Still building. I crawled through a fallen door way as I knew the old bottle house and Kinsey Rye building were still there, on the stairs in stencil the words Kinsey and Kinsey Rye building were on the wooden side and looked like new. In the old Bottle house sat a skid of bottles and old ruined labels beside it. Now they say the Electric Company owns it and is going to tear everything down including the 14 Explosion Proof warehouses that the company was so proud of back then. From this place so many great brands of Whiskey once came including Old Hickory and just like everything in America it is gone for ever, and just a memory. In some old pictures of it when Jake Kinsey was living it shows sail boats on the river in the background. Even the companys state of the art railroad bridge into the place is torn down. As I walked down by the river near the old warehouses I found an old cork seal bottle sticking out of the ground when I pulled it up it turned out to be almost perfect sealed with a plug of dirt it was clean inside. As I left I felt very sad that it had to come to its end this way. I could almost hear old #12 saying why! I am glad for the memories I have from working there just out of High school and that the job I had took me all through the place so I can remember so many things. Publickers Kinsey Distillery is just like many other great Distillerys gone forever! And the Oldtimers who told me so many things including stories about Jake Kinsey gone too!
Dave Z

BourbonJoe
03-02-2007, 10:14
Dave,
Such a pity. The same goes for Michters.
Joe :usflag:

dave ziegler
02-23-2008, 06:07
Hey Joe finally feeling good enough to write stuff and answer questions. Did you get a chance to look at the two threads with pictures of Kinsey yet if not I think you will be amazed at its size and what the Explosion Proof Buildings / Warehouses look like. I have never seen any Distillery with buildings like it. It was truley one of a kind and I hate seeing it rotting away! I am still amazed that such a big 5,000 employees and the worlds largest maker of Industrial Alcohol is out of bussiness. From the Fortune 500 to gone! I go every now and then just to remember and look at it and it always brings back the old days! When I walk through I can in my mind see the 1941 Ford Flat bed trucks roaring up and down carrying barrels to dump and the old Therm Ice White semi from the 1950's coming in with Old Joe driving it from DSP #1 Phila with a load of new whiskey to be warehoused and aged! One time he let me back the truck in just so I could see what a semi was like to back in. Many years later I found myself driving truck for 20 years! Joe I find that as you get older I am 60 now you find that the days gone by always seem so much better. You were young not sick and allot of Life was ahead of you. And it gives you much joy to think back on them. I can still in my mind remember just what the old tunnel room going to the still looked like where we had are lockers and ate our lunch and all the stories of WWII working there told me by the old timers how they had the steers out back they gave the mash to and when they were old enough they were given to feed the troops. Of Him telling me how while Jake Kinsey was still livng very old and had sold to Publicker He still tried to stop in offten to visit his old employees which he called his friends! I am going to try to keep as many of these memories alive as I can.
Dave

BourbonJoe
02-23-2008, 07:24
Dave,
Thanks for all your memories of Kinsey. Just the other day I ran across a full 1.75 Liter bottle of "Philadelphia" brand blended whiskey made by Continental Distilling. It is tax stamped and never been opened. I think I'll take it to Bardstown in April so the folks at the gazebo can get a taste.
Joe :usflag:

camduncan
02-23-2008, 14:03
Dave, whilst I haven't read every post and viewed every picture yet, I appreciate the time and effort you've put into writing your memories for us. They're preserved now for current and future members of sb.com

T47
02-23-2008, 16:10
I am glad for the memories I have from working there just out of High school and that the job I had took me all through the place so I can remember so many things. Publickers Kinsey Distillery is just like many other great Distillerys gone forever! And the Oldtimers who told me so many things including stories about Jake Kinsey gone too!
Dave Z

Great personal touch to some fading History Dave, thanks for sharing.

:toast:

dave ziegler
02-26-2008, 12:15
Great personal touch to some fading History Dave, thanks for sharing.

:toast:
Todd There are times when I wish I could take everyone from SB on a guided tour of what is left of Kinsey Distillery just the size of the place 200 acres. The one of a kind Explosion proof Warehouses, and of course all the remaining 1892 Buildings, so sad to think they will be gone one day forever so that is why I am so glad for SB and for Jeff to have put my pcitures on so I could guide you through what was one of the greatest Distillerys in Pa! Founded in 1892 and open till 1986 six years short of One Hundred years it sits a memory but also a tribute To Jacob G Kinsey and to the Continental Distilling Corp & Publicker Industries the Largest and greatest Drinking and industrial maker of Alcohol for so many great years! Jacob G Kinsey, Harry Publicker & Mr Simon Neuman were amazing People with much insite and ideas when they were gone so was Kinsey and Publicker but I pass what I can on to keep them alive now and forever! May God rest their Souls!
Dave Z

Gillman
02-26-2008, 14:18
Dave, I have an issue of Fortune Magazine from 1933, its lead story was about the liquor industry as it would take shape in the post-Repeal environment.

Publicker figured largely in the story and as I recall controlled 25% of the stocks of aged whiskey that would be available from 1934 onwards.

50% of the stocks were controlled by the company that emerged from American Medicinal Spirits (which became National Distillers) and the rest was held amongst a group of smaller companies including e.g., the predecessor of Buffalo Trace.

There are a number of comments about "Si Neuman" and the plans of Publicker, and clearly many of these plans were achieved in the decades that followed.

I will, perhaps under another thread, give a summary of what the magazine wrote about Publicker and Si Neuman.

Gary

dave ziegler
02-26-2008, 16:45
Dave, I have an issue of Fortune Magazine from 1933, its lead story was about the liquor industry as it would take shape in the post-Repeal environment.

Publicker figured largely in the story and as I recall controlled 25% of the stocks of aged whiskey that would be available from 1934 onwards.

50% of the stocks were controlled by the company that emerged from American Medicinal Spirits (which became National Distillers) and the rest was held amongst a group of smaller companies including e.g., the predecessor of Buffalo Trace.

There are a number of comments about "Si Neuman" and the plans of Publicker, and clearly many of these plans were achieved in the decades that followed.

I will, perhaps under another thread, give a summary of what the magazine wrote about Publicker and Si Neuman.

Gary
Gary I will look to Read that, Si Neuman was a very smart man it was his Idea as far as I can find to take the Carbon Di that comes out of Distilling and use it to make Dry Ice a very big Product at that time and once they had built the Plant a free product to develope! They Formed a company called Therm Ice for their Dry Ice Division! Then istead of venting it they used it. Let me know when you write about the artical I will enjoy reading it.
Dave Z

Gillman
02-27-2008, 09:57
I'll post it in a different thread, most of what was written regarding Publicker was about the plan to age whiskey more quickly than it usually takes. I will give a summary with comments on the overall situation of the industry towards the end of the Volstead Act era.

Gary

dave ziegler
02-27-2008, 16:54
Dave,
Thanks for all your memories of Kinsey. Just the other day I ran across a full 1.75 Liter bottle of "Philadelphia" brand blended whiskey made by Continental Distilling. It is tax stamped and never been opened. I think I'll take it to Bardstown in April so the folks at the gazebo can get a taste.
Joe :usflag:
Hey joe I think that is a great Idea they will enjoy it for sure it is so much better then the stuff bottled under that name today although HH does an ok job it is not the old Publicker blend. I have had the new and the old and as many have said They the distillers can't afford to make things as good today with the costs. When you do give a toast to Continentals memory I am very proud to haved worked for them way back then!
Best to you Joe and BE WELL
Dave

dave ziegler
05-14-2008, 09:31
a Picture of the Fire in Late 1986 early 1987 at the Publicker Plant in phila after People working for Overland Wrecking corp caught some Pipes filled with Chemicials on Fire. Publicker had sold them the Plant at a almost for nothing price with a legel agreement they would clean it up completely, 3 Million for 40 acres along the river.
So is the end days of an amazing Company that I was very Prould to work for.
Dave Z
Old Hickory America's Most Magnicent Bourbon
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dave ziegler
05-25-2008, 10:04
Have have talked here about the end of Kinsey Distilling here is a picture from an old Post card made at the begining of the Distillery in 1892. When people took a trip up that way back then it was the country and they sent this post homw home on from their trip! I borrowed this one from the Historic society less year! Note how the still then was out in the open!
Dave Z
Old Hickory America's Most Magnificent Bourbon
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