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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Honolulu, HI

    Speculation on the Origin of 'Rebel Yell' Brand

    In a closed thread I found this post:

    Re: Rebel Yell (Posted 04-05-2004) - "Alex Farnsley worked at W.L.Weller and Sons with Julian Van Winkle in the late 1800's/early 1900's. They purchased the company about 1910 and George Weller became the President, with Van Winkle and Farnsley as Vice President and Treasurer. Farnsley also became President of the Bank of St. Helens (in what is now Shively) about the same time. Prohibition saw the retirement of Weller and the last family tie to the company.

    In the 1940's Charlie Farnsley became Mayor of Louisville. At the same time he started bottling a few whiskies for his own use and to give as gifts. He created the brands "Rebel Yell" and "Lost Cause". There is a label book at the U.D. Archive with a 1948 label for Rebel Yell. It is white with a cannon shooting a cannon ball. Lost Cause did not have a graphic design and was even more plain than the Rebel Yell label.

    In the 1960's to honor the cenntenial of the Civil War, Stitzel-Weller took the label to the public, but only below the Mason-Dixon line. It was a 5yo 90 proof wheated bourbon at that time.

    United Distillers decided to take the brand world wide and amde it available anywhere in the U.S. I thought this was a mistake - A better selling point in London or Paris or Sidney would have been "What can you get here that you can't get in New York City or Boston?". They also lowered the proof to 80 proof. It became part of the brand sale to Heaven Hill and Bufallo Trace in the late 1990's and was in turn sold to David Sherman.

    Mike Veach"

    Now for my contribution:

    I was researching Wendell Willkie and found that his brother Herman F. Willkie was a VP in charge of production at the Joseph E. Segram & Sons, Inc. distillery and co-authored a book, "Fundamentals of Distillery Practice," published in 1943. Another of his books, "A Rebel Yells," was published in 1946. Is the creation of the Rebel Yell brand related to the title of that book? Here's a summary of an oral history interview with Nancy Farnsley (11-14-1984, Univ. of Louisville):

    "Discusses the distilling industry in general and Rebel Yell whisky in particular; Rebel Yell was a brand owned by her husband; mentions HF Wilkie and Seagrams corporation; gives the Farnsley julep recipe at the end. Nancy Farnsley was the wife of Charles P. Farnsley."
    Last edited by MauiSon; 09-26-2012 at 05:11.



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