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  1. #1
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Who Knows Lawrenceburg's Story?

    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?

  2. #2
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    Re: Who Knows Lawrenceburg's Story?

    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=jUwE...ana%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
    Last edited by Gillman; 06-17-2010 at 04:53.

  3. #3
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    Re: Who Knows Lawrenceburg's Story?

    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
    Last edited by Gillman; 06-17-2010 at 05:23.

  4. #4
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    Re: Who Knows Lawrenceburg's Story?

    This history of Dearborn Co. is full of information, although it's kind of a mess: http://www.archive.org/stream/histor...2shaw_djvu.txt

    Gary is right. The Rossville distilleries' pre-pro page is here: http://www.pre-pro.com/midacore/list...rict=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.
    Last edited by Josh; 06-17-2010 at 05:57.
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  5. #5
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    Re: Who Knows Lawrenceburg's Story?

    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

  6. #6
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    Re: Who Knows Lawrenceburg's Story?

    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.
    Last edited by CorvallisCracker; 06-17-2010 at 11:09. Reason: found out what "pg" is
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  7. #7
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    Re: Who Knows Lawrenceburg's Story?

    "pg" is proof gallons - A gallon of 100 proof alcohol. They are making more than a few barrels of whiskey.

    Mike Veach

  8. #8
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    Re: Who Knows Lawrenceburg's Story?

    Quote Originally Posted by bourbonv View Post
    "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.
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  9. #9
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    Re: Who Knows Lawrenceburg's Story?

    Here is a contemporary description of Lawrenceburg distilleries from the legendary Federal Writers Project.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=8iF...page&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

  10. #10
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    Re: Who Knows Lawrenceburg's Story?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillman View Post
    Here is a contemporary description of Lawrenceburg distilleries from the legendary Federal Writers Project.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=8iF...page&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.
    Last edited by Josh; 06-17-2010 at 13:10.
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