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Thread: Pre-War label?

  1. #11
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Pre-War label?

    The most obvious answer to the question is contained in the label. It was distilled in 1942. It was bottled and labeled after that. No prescience required.

    As for the 1942 date, since the war started in 1941, I would assume that what they really meant was "distilled before the imposition of wartime prohibition."

    And that said, I'm not so sure that Wikipedia entry is exactly correct. I don't believe whiskey distillation was so much banned as it was impractical due to restrictions on raw materials and the demands for wartime production of neutral spirits. I know that some whiskey was produced during the war because the services required it "for medicinal purposes." The amount produced was simply way short of demand.

    My further assumption is that this labeling was both an indication of age, as soad said, as well as a way of stating that no wartime restrictions were violated to make it.

  2. #12
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    Re: Pre-War label?

    Quote Originally Posted by SMOWK View Post
    If it was an older whiskey, the war could have started, and ended, while the whiskey sat in a barrel. So when it was bottled, it would technically be "Pre-War".
    Quote Originally Posted by TNbourbon View Post
    Unless it was bottled very young, it would have been put in glass AFTER the war's end -- thus the bottlers would have known the start and end points of the conflict, relative to distilling date.
    Quote Originally Posted by soad View Post
    I'm guessing the "pre-war" label was put on there to say "hey this is well aged whiskey" as opposed to the young stuff that flooded the market.
    THANK you guys! These make sense to me and do explain (for
    me, at least) the "Pre-War" label. I was picturing such a bottle
    on the shelves before the war. Curse my linear thinking.

    That was really bugging me. ...whew...
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    It won't be any cheaper than it is today.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan
    Someone will pay it. Someone always pays it.

  3. #13
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    Re: Pre-War label?

    The term prewar (sometimes spelled pre-war) is used generally to mean the period after WW I and before WW II. It has become, today, a sort of literary expression in that it evokes a certain time or a mood, even.

    The war was on by January 1, 1942, and so the bottlers were not very precise in stating pre-war for something distilled after December 8, 1941. I agree this would have been issued probably in 1946 or a little after (if bourbon), and showed decent age on the product, whereas anything distilled after the ban on production of distilled beverage alcohol would have been young bourbon, perhaps straight but not as good as 4 year old whiskey.

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 11-21-2010 at 18:45.

  4. #14
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    Re: Pre-War label?

    I wonder if anyone here was, or knows someone who was, a bourbon drinker back in the 40's (they would be at least in their 80's by now....) and could speak to the bourbon "situation" during that time. Was there a shortage? Was the stuff around any good? Did the distillers up in the hills make up for the shortage ?

  5. #15
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    Re: Pre-War label?

    There was a wartime prohibition as the distilleries were not allowed to make beverage alcohol as the high proof alcohol was needed for the production of rubber (Rubbertown in western Jefferson County was built in this period to be close to the source of alcohol). If the distillery did not have the capability to make high proof alcohol, they still had to make it atas high a proof as they could achieve and send this in bulk to a distillery who could distill it higher. There was a brief "distilling holiday" in the summer of 1944 as they found a way to make rubber using less alcohol and the government found they had a surplus. Even so, most distillers used this period to make neutral spirits with the theory that they could blend aged spirits to make them last longer and they did not have to change still configuration.

    So the answer to your question is that this was whiskey made before wartime prohibition set in and production was cut off. It was released after the war and the label is a proof of age. I assume this is a non-bonded whiskey so this is a way of putting an age statement on the whiskey in a way it would attract attention to the bottle.

    Mike Veach

  6. #16
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    Re: Pre-War label?

    I just bought a bottle of new whiskey marked Pre-Palin Depression.

    Is this kinda the same thing?
    Colonel Ed
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    Comissioned by Paul Patton, 1999

    "It ain't the booze that brings me in here, it's the solace it distills"

  7. #17
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    Re: Pre-War label?

    I have a little pocket-sized book from 1944 called The Standard Cocktail Book by Crosby Gaige. In the section on rum, Gaige writes, "In this year of 1944 it behooves the good mixer to know his Rums. Good Whiskey is now scarce and will be scarcer for some time to come while good Rum is in plentiful supply."

    What I don't understand is that if US distilleries were converted to distilling alcohol for the production of munitions, why the government didn't just buy this plentiful rum. Perhaps it was the idea of getting all of the American economy to participate in the war effort for the purpose of morale.
    "One never knows, do one?" Fats Waller, American Musician, 1904-1943

  8. #18
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    Re: Pre-War label?

    Quote Originally Posted by pepcycle View Post
    I just bought a bottle of new whiskey marked Pre-Obama/Biden Depression.

    Is this kinda the same thing?

    Fixed it for ya

    Palin has NOTHING to do with the pending hyper-inflation/depression

  9. #19
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    Re: Pre-War label?

    There's a really nice PR&C forum here for political topics. You should try it.
    My name is Joel Goodson. I deal in human fulfillment.
    I grossed over eight thousand dollars in one night. Time of your life, huh kid?

  10. #20
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Pre-War label?

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffRenner View Post
    I have a little pocket-sized book from 1944 called The Standard Cocktail Book by Crosby Gaige. In the section on rum, Gaige writes, "In this year of 1944 it behooves the good mixer to know his Rums. Good Whiskey is now scarce and will be scarcer for some time to come while good Rum is in plentiful supply."

    What I don't understand is that if US distilleries were converted to distilling alcohol for the production of munitions, why the government didn't just buy this plentiful rum. Perhaps it was the idea of getting all of the American economy to participate in the war effort for the purpose of morale.
    At the beginning of the war the bourbon distillers offered to convert to alcohol production but the War Department said no thanks. The original plan was to convert all of the rum distilleries on U.S. soil, of which there were many in Louisiana, Florida, all around the Gulf. It wasn't enough and that's why the bourbon distillers were ultimately pressed into service.

    The "plentiful rum" available post-war was plentiful for several reasons. It was (1) not aged, (2) lightly aged, (3) from non-U.S. sources in the Caribbean, Central and South America.

 

 

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