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Thread: Christmas List

  1. #11
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    Re: Christmas List

    In the first edition , my Grandfather ( Shorty Snellen) is pictured on Page 103 This book is mostly Brown an the cover. The same picture is further up in the 2nd edition which has a lot of green on the cover. I think it's a wonderful book , somewhat textbook at times , but you don't get this information anywhere alse. Some have said he relies too much on work by H. Whit Coyte , and some of it is unsubstantiated. I met him and Bettye Jo talks to him frequently . Great guy, VP at Makers for 25 years . See also what he says about Bluegrass, Belles and Bourbon. Another good book albeit Inaccurate at times. I gave myself But Always Fine Bourbon, 2 years ago for Christmas and this Year Nothing Better in The Market.
    As far as my limited experience shows me , Sam may misstate something ( I have no examples But rather mean this in the way that we all can get mixed up on the facts from time to time) . I don't think he is trying to Whitewash , or Fabricate anything as pretaining to Bourbon. For me , I will believe , rather than disbelieve, his account until I find elsewhere that something else may be the case.

  2. #12
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    Sam Cecil\'s book

    Lots of folks blasted Sam with his first book..."He took it to heart"...That makes my blood boil...No man living today can tell you more about the history of Kentucky Straight Bourbon than Sam Cecil... Every one who visits the bourbon festival should talk with Sam...He is our biggest bourbon historian of all time...

    Index bull crap was mentioned frequently.....Let me tell ya...Yes, some things are inaccurate...Let me tell ya this...somethings are inaccurate in others...Bluegrass, B&B has many things wrong---I don't think that it was deliberate---it just needed more added to it...the most improtant (to me) is that there is no mention of Joseph L. Beam in the section about Heaven Hill...Just says Earl Beam was the Master Distiller. Earl did not join HH until 1947...Hmmmmm...wonder who was there from 1935 until 1947? The answer is Joseph L. Beam...

    The 4 original incorporators of Heaven Hill were--- Joseph L. Beam, R.J. Nolan, Marion P. Muir, and H.F. Mathis...All 4 sold their shares to the 5 Shapira brothers...My g-grandfather Joseph L. Beam stayed on as Master Distiller...He sold his share for 100 dollars and 60 barrels of whiskey...One of my goals is to find the bill of sale on this transaction...I know where the original is...they won't donate it to the Getz...Sooooo...I hope to find it...Maybe, Someday....

    There I go again driftin off...Now back to "The rest of the story".

    None of his (Sam's) mistakes are deliberate and intentional... the MAJORITY of HIS BOOK IS absolutely PRICELESS...We should be grateful to him for doing the work that he has done...

    Ya see, in BOURBON HISTORY, things kinda gets changed...certain things get left out...bullshit gets put in and entire families get left out...Then when they (OLD TIMERES) die off...it's up to folks like me and "others" (Bobby, Chuck, Brenda etc.) to kept it straight...

    Shootin it Straight

    Shinnin in Kentucky

    Bettye Jo


  3. #13
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    Re: Sam Cecil\'s book

    Since you have Sam's book, Jeff , Be sure to read Sam's account of Burk's Spring Distillery RD#440, Old Samuels Distillery RD#44 Maker's Mark. Remind yourself that the guy writing this was the VP at Maker's for 25 years. Read about T.W. Samuels distillery RD#145 in Nelson county. When you contrast this to the current story of Maker's Mark It seems like things aren't adding up, one way or another. He is describing the beginnings of Maker's Mark, " George Shields had made numerious trips to the distillery to study the operation, and at the meeting he presented the entire advertising program, including the name " Maker's Mark" and the packaging. " Sam was at this meeting, and why he neglected to give credit or provide the details of the Maker's Mark on Pewter and the wax seals on Cognac bottles and the role Bill Samuels wife had in it is beyond me. At TW Samuels, you have The Blocks ( Son in Law to IW Bernhiem , of IW Harper fame and Bernhiem Forest which bears his name) Deciding in 1943 to sell the old plant , Bill Sr objecting and unable to do anything about it. This usually is characterized as Bill " deciding " to get out of the business or " retiring". And damn if Sam doesn't also fail to mention the carting away of the Samuels Yeast to a bakery for safe keeping from 1920-1934. ( John Ed Pearce puts Brown-Formans yeast sealed up and hanging in a spring by a rope at this same time period , in Nothing Better in the Market. He also wrote that they all ( the Browns and others at B-F) had better judgement than to believe the story)!

    Sally VanWinkle Campbell writes in her book that Bill Samuels Jr distinctly remembers being at a Distilled Spirits Institute meeting in Washington after he had gone to work for his Dad, Along with Pappy VanWinkle and King McClure. And that Pappy only tipped a dime and thought that too much, King would stay close and pay the correct amount. Pappy VanWinkle died Feb 16, 1965.

    The liner notes in Bill Samuels Jr book says, And I read this a couple of times because I didn't believe it at first, ( paraphase, this isn't a direct quote, I hope the meaning is intact) " Bill Samuels Jr was born to make Bourbon, he just didn't know it at first, He thought he was supposed to be a Rocket Scientist. When the Cold War ended and the Soviet Union no longer around , He came home to Kentucky to make Bourbon. This was sometime prior to 1965? I thought Ronald Reagan had something to do with that. And a little further up on the time line. I ain't no Rocket Scientist but I have a vague recollection of the things that have occured in the World since I have been here( b1957). Make what you will of it.
    My life story isn't quite remarkable and would make a boring paragraph or 2. I wouldn't let the spin doctors rewrite 20 plus years of world history to make me look smarter , more qualified , or have more prestige in my position. Why isn't just being born in the Bourbon dynasty of Kentucky enough? God bless Booker and Freddie Noe ( and others as well ) , they may invoke the name Jim Beam 10,000 times a day, They've never pulled any shit like this to make themselves look any different than who they are.
    Furthermore, with the current world situation looming on 2 poles of the world, the Rocket Corps work may be more important than the work of the Stills and Mash Tubs.

  4. #14
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    Re: Sam Cecil\'s book

    When things happen, that is the way it is...The true stories (in history) remain somewhat the same with the inner-core of the subject always intact...some add to it as time goes on...then others add more...then sometimes ---and I have seen in in the records that I have... where certain facts get left out...the inner core is lost and a new one is added...THIS JUST BLOWS ME AWAY...

    BTW---Take note that this story does mention my Uncle Elmo Beam...but prior to that...it states that he had just one employee from the earlier days, Ed Medley...Take note that Bobby told ya about his grandfather in a picture at the TW Samuels Distillery in the earlier days.... My Uncle Elmo is in that picture too

    This was a interview in 1981---


    T.W. (Bill) Samuels Sr. born in Bardstown 78 years ago with bourbon in his blood, rebuilt two distilleries before creating his internationally renowned "Maker's Mark" label.

    The foruth-genreation commercial distiller was honored Friday at Star Hill Farm near Loretto where he began brewing his special recipe 24 years ago.

    Samuels was interviewed last week in his Louisville home, not too many miles from University of Lousiville Speed Scientific School where he graduated in 1932 with a degree in mechanical engineering. I got out of school in the middle of the depression an I spent my first year after graduation looking for a job, without success, Samuels realated in smooth prose as if to dictate a letter.

    At that time, my father Leslie B. Samuels had been forced out of business by Prohibition and was anxious to go back into business in the event there was a repeal of the 18 amendment. So, in the summer of 1933 my dad and James B. Beam, who lived next-door, talked extensively about resuming their activities and re-entering the bourbon business. In 1934, my father endevored to raise capital to reactivate the old T.W. Samuels Distillery by contacting a lot of his old friends an business associates in Cincinnati to form a company to rebuild manufacture and market a bourbon whiskey.

    The 18 amendment was repealed and my father reactivated the distillery at which time I joined him, said Samuels who designed much of the equipment and the new building which replaced the one which had been demolished and sold for junk around the time the ban on alcohol had gone into effect in 1920.

    The distillery was located near Deatsville and Samuels, the settlement named for Samuels pioneer ancestors.......PERSONAL NOTE....(there's a couple of lines that I cannot read what it says)....

    ???created an instant demand with a thirsty public willing to settle for an inferior bourbon aged as little as six to 12 months, Samuels said. Although as time went on and warehouses began to fill up again, the bourbon was aged longer, from four to eight years.

    Production resumed at his father's distillery in February or March 1934 but the Samuels' weren't the only ones returning to the bourbon business. There was plenty of competition.

    The bourbon industry was completely different back then, just as the auto business has changed. There were dozens of family-run operations, since replaced with mostly corporate owned distilleries.

    At that time, all the distilleries were doing about the same thing, but some develooped better products so the strong survived and the weak perished as will always be true, Samuels said.

    Samuels had little time to study the distillery business under his father, who handled the production and part of the marketing, with their Cincinnati office handling sales.

    The elder Samuels took sick in 1935 and died in January 1936 at the age of 62 while mayor of Bardstown. He also had served on the local school board, Farmer's Bank board and had been chairman of the state highway commission.

    Samuels took the helm of the distillery, making him the fourth genreation commercial distiller although generations further back had brewed whiskey for relatives and friends as many farmers did in pioneer times.

    Samuels' great-grandfather, Taylor William Samuels had begun commercial distilling in the early 1840's which was continued by his son William I. Samuels grandson, Leslie B. Samules and Samuels himself.

    Bottling bourbon under the T.W. Samuels and Old Jordan labels, Samuels employed about 400 people at the distillery to produce for customers in some 30 states, most everywhere except Northeast where they drank a lot of rye and SCOTCH, Samuels said.

    Then the federal government interfered with the Samuels' business for the second time. As World War II got under way in the early 1940's distilleries were required to halt whiskey production and make ethyl alcohol instead.

    It was not for consumption, but for production of ammunition, one of the main ingredients in bourbon, so, the war effort took precedence. We had a market but we couldn't supply that market, he said.

    The switch in products required some retooling, which Samuels engineering background enabled him to accomplish.

    And his distillery, which produced the ethyl alcohol as long as there was a demand, was sold, by this time of the largest distilleries around.

    Samuels, then 33, volunteered for the Navy and was sent first to New York, then to Boston where he was prduction officer at a naval ammunition depot. He oversay manufacture of all kinds of propellant charges and projectiles, for 16-inch guns to 20-millimeter rockets.

    In 1953, Samuels bought the old Burks Springs Distillery, also called Happy Hollow near Loretto, which had been closed for two or three years. Production began in 1954.

    With just one employee from earlier days, Ed Medley, Samuels had a big task before him in repairing and upgrading the distillery and contacting with copper, mill carpentry experts, repairing everything an changing everything.

    Before I bought the place, I determined I didn't want to produce the same product that the other distilleries were producing. I talked with people all over the country about what they wanted, Samuels explained.

    First they wanted the bourbon to have a pleasant initial aroma; second a pleasant first taste; third, it had to be smooth with a absence of bite (some bourbons burned) and fourth it shoud have a pleasant after-taste. So many distilled spirits and wine did not.

    With these things in mind, and the help of ELMO BEAM and assistant distiller from the old company and after buying the distillery, repairing it and overhauling it we started producing this product according to the recipe we had and it worked.

    Samules' lifelong acquaintance with good bourbon enabled him to tell he had a winner before his recipe matured six years later.

    The tough part was losing money for six years, he said. But, we managed to keep going, while the next step was to come up with a package worthy of the product and a name to go with it. We couldn't use the family name because it was sold.

    After reviewing hundreds of names, Maker's Mark was chosen to signify the hall-mark of silver and touchmark of pewter which craftsmen have traditionally used to stamp their creations.

    The S IV on each bottle stands for Samuels, fourth generation commercial distiller and the star for Star Hill Farm, where the distillery is located.

    Operation continued until the early 1970's when Samuls turned over responsibility to his son, T.W. (Bill) Samules Jr. while he served as chairman of the board. The distillery was sold to Hiram Walker several years ago with the youngest Samuels remaining president.

    Bettye Jo

    P.S. I made a copy of the article published in the paper about the first barrel filled at the Old Samuels Plant--February 1954---I forgot to put it in...as you can see...I came back to add it and you cannot add a picture later...It also states that Pioneer Nelson County Distilling Name Moves to Marion for Liquor Manufacture...

  5. #15
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    Re: Christmas List

    Because of the big snowstorm, I'm still delivering and getting packages. Just received a bottle of VW Family Reserve 13 yr Rye tonight. My friends who gave it to me know how much I love the stuff. They said I had convinced them to try a real Manhattan, one made with good rye. They had the vermouth, bitters, cherries, a shaker full of ice all set up, so once I unwrapped my rye I mixed us up a little toddy. Lo and behold, I've converted 'em.

    Yea, tho I walk thru the valley of dry vermouth I will fear no evil gin. For I've got a couple of bottles of fabulous 13 year old rye, 2 kinds of bitters, maraschino cherries with a half-life shelf life and plenty of sweet vermouth. My cocktail shaker and my swizzle stick, they comfort me.

  6. #16
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    1938 Distillery picture

    Here is the picture that Bobby was taking about...

    Bobby, I look at your grand-daddy and I can see you...This entire group looks really happy...Very unusal for a distillery picture...Most all of the older pictures the folks are stone-faced...Hmmmmmm...they musta been tastin one too many...Shorty looks the happiest. Why did they call him shorty...Uncle Elmo was the shortest man in the industry and that was never tagged on him...

    Bettye Jo

    BTW-- The folks in the picture are...front row, left to right, Polin Evans,Elmo Beam JR., Elmo Beam Sr., <(my kin) Shorty Snellen <(Bobby's kin) Mr. Lee, Back row Sam K. Cecil Charlie DeSpain, Stafford Anderson, Gordon Graves, Red Thurman, J.E. Yates
    Attached Images Attached Images

  7. #17
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    Re: 1938 Distillery picture

    They do look happy for a bunch of workmen. My Grandfather went to Jim Beam after this and I think for the most part he was happy there, the best I could tell he was always happiest at TW Samuels. I think he would have perferred that things turned out different. I can remember TWS running in the 60s and early 70s but it fizzled out altogether. At least the rackhouses are still being used. HH has most of them and Maker's has 2 or 3. They bottle spring water at the site now. Polin Evans son , Joe , has the Rooster run store with the big chicken in front of it . Any of you that have come to BTown and rode around much at all have seen that. I posted elsewhere on this forum that back in the old days at TWS they had a bar in the basement of the office and could drink thier fill at the end of the day. I guess those days would be gone for sure because of liability etc.

  8. #18
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    Re: More from the folks who bring you Red Wax

    <font color="red"> And I think it's gonna be a long,long time </font color>

    Waxing Folksy,20 years after PR coup, Maker's Mark still crafts bourbon ------------and image
    A Courier Journal article Sunday July 30,2000 Louisville Ky.
    The jest of this article is about a front page story about MM in the Wall Street Journal, which ran August 1 1980 and it's impact on Maker's.
    Before this article the advertisments for Maker's featured the tag line, " It tastes expensive ............. and is."
    After the article they began to run those down home full page ads offering someone help in finding a bottle of Maker's in some far off place, etc.

    <font color="red">Till touch down brings me 'round and get to find </font color>

    As it turns out they feel people look at the Red Wax the same as one perceives the Nike Swoosh, Younger folks aren't sitting around reading papers , so they are plastering Red wax everywhere to be the thing you recognize about Maker's. When the young and inexperienced drinker goes in a bar he is overwhelmed ( depends on the bar) by the bourbon choices and selects the bottle with the Red Wax. Brilliant absolutely Brilliant!

    <font color="red"> I'm not the man they think I am at all </font color>

    " The story was a marketing coup, all involved agree . How it happened is open to question."
    " Samuels remembers an elaborate plan to get Garino( writer of the Wall Street Journal piece) interested in the story.It included former PR partners Rod Wenz and Randy Neely, then secretary of the Interior Cecil Andrus and a bribed Bartender."
    " Randy and I worked on the idea , Samuels said . We allowed it ( the story) to be discovered."
    In Samuels version , Garino was in Louisville to cover the annual meeting of Humana Inc. Wenz represented Humana at the time.Andrus was in town to honor the Maker's Mark Distillery as a historic landmark.
    Samuels said he and Neely gave an exclusive story on the landmark award to one of the Louisville TV stations to make sure it was on the evening news. It was Wenz's duty to get Garino into the bar at the Brown Hotel in time for the broadcast.

    <font color="red">Oh No,No,No </font color>

    Samuels tipped the bartender to see that the right channel was playing and to add a little commentary of his own about Maker's Mark being the best bourbon in Kentucky. Then Samuels made sure he was at home when Garino called .
    "It's a good story, in the freewheeling business tradition of the Bourbon Barons. But is it true?"

    "Bill's memory may be a lot better than mine," said Wenz " What I remember of the early days of that ( campaign) is doing the standard pitch letter. Dave ( Garino) might have been in town for the annual meeting . I wouldn't be surprised if we got together."
    Standard " publicity activity" including a 3 page history of the company, did the trick, Neely recalls.

    Their response baffles Samuels!

    <font color="red"> I'm a Rocket Man! </font color>



    </font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
    Standing on a hill overlooking the Maker's complex, visitors can get the sense they have been transported back in time to the tiny farm where Scots-Irish immigrant and farmer Robert Samuels arrived in 1780 and began to produce whiskey for himself and a few friends.



    [/QUOTE]
    It's a long way from Loretto Ky to Samuels Ky where it actually took place, and while this piece of an article doesn't say it is the exact place, it seems to me that it is implied.Also a tiny farm in 1780 turns out to be about 4000 acres.

 

 

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