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  1. #1
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    Old Fitzgerald *before* S. C. Herbst

    I'm sort of noodling around Google Books, looking at 19th century publications trying to learn what I can about the earliest origins of Old Fitzgerald.

    I think I found something.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=7L0...gerald&f=false

    The Report of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue for the year ended June 30, 1891, which is linked above, lists the Jno. E. Fitzgerald Distilling Company as a DBA of J. Swigert Taylor, RD 53 in Millville, Woodford County, Kentucky.

    This same J. Swigert Taylor (son, if I recall correctly, of Col. E. H.) also had E. H. Taylor, Jr. and E. H. Taylor, Jr. and sons listed as DBAs.

    RD 53 became DSP 19 after Prohibition. Simply put, at least in 1891 Old Fitzgerald was owned by, and produced at, Old Taylor. This information continues until the report of 1896, where it stops.

    Then in 1901, John E. Fitzgerald 15 year old Bourbon and Rye were being advertised as being available on the best railroad dining cars, by the S. C. Herbst Importing Company. http://books.google.com/books?id=3n7...ourbon&f=false

    So now I'm trying to figure out when Herbst got Fitz from Taylor, and indeed whether J. S. (or E. H.) Taylor created the brand or bought it from someone else.

  2. #2
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    Re: Old Fitzgerald *before* S. C. Herbst

    I just found an 1890 report that shows J. E. Fitzgerald distilling as a DBA of J S Taylor, while E H Taylor was a DBA of Geo T. Stagg. http://books.google.com/books?id=wOY...ourbon&f=false This is now the earliest reference I've been able to find mentioning John Fitzgerald whiskey and who was distilling it.

  3. #3
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    Re: Old Fitzgerald *before* S. C. Herbst

    Very cool! Thanks for sharing the information.

    Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk
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    "A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it."
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  4. #4
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    Re: Old Fitzgerald *before* S. C. Herbst

    The brand was owned by Herbst from the beginning who created the label naming it after an employee, Jno. E. Fitzgerald, who managed one of Herbst's warehouses in Milwaukee, WI. Taylor (and others) made the whisky for Herbst under contract using their standard rye recipe Bourbon mash bills.
    We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.

  5. #5
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    Re: Old Fitzgerald *before* S. C. Herbst

    Quote Originally Posted by squire View Post
    The brand was owned by Herbst from the beginning who created the label naming it after an employee, Jno. E. Fitzgerald, who managed one of Herbst's warehouses in Milwaukee, WI. Taylor (and others) made the whisky for Herbst under contract using their standard rye recipe Bourbon mash bills.
    The story now being told is that Fitzgerald was a treasury employee who would help himself to honey barrels. I did see a government prosecution case in 1875 that took place in Milwaukee, with defendants accused of conspiring to destroy certain forms of paperwork that rectifiers were supposed to file with the treasury. Three gaugers are named who received paperwork, one of whom is John E. Fitzgerald.

    In fact, Fitzgerald is listed in many government publications of the 1870s as an Internal Revenue gauger in Milwaukee. He also seems to have gotten himself involved in some political shenanigans during the 1870s as well. So whether the legend of his whiskey pilfering is just that or not, it's seeming plausible. But I was trying to wrap my head around the Taylor distillery involvement; if Herbst owned it and had them produce it under contract (at least until he started producing it at Benson Creek/Old Judge), that would make sense.

  6. #6
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    Re: Old Fitzgerald *before* S. C. Herbst

    I'm not entirely clear on whether Fitzgerald worked for Herbst at one time (believe so) or was assigned to his warehouse but it would appear he was a colorful character, apparently Herbst liked him.
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  7. #7
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    Re: Old Fitzgerald *before* S. C. Herbst

    Shoshani, You have it backwards - DBA "Doing Business As" in this case was Taylor making whiskey for Herbst. The Taylor-Hay collection at the Filson has a contract for Taylor to make whiskey for Herbst, so it was a long term relationship. Herbst did not purchase the Old Judge distillery until the late 1890s when Bonded whiskey came about.
    I did some search on the census records and found John E. Fitzgerald in Milwaukee as a "Boiler maker". I suspect he worked as a maintenance man for Herbst as the warehouses were probably heated.
    Mike Veach

  8. #8
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    Re: Old Fitzgerald *before* S. C. Herbst

    Glad you chimed in Mike, did Herbst register the Old Fitzgerald brand in 1884?
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  9. #9
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    Re: Old Fitzgerald *before* S. C. Herbst

    Quote Originally Posted by bourbonv View Post
    Shoshani, You have it backwards - DBA "Doing Business As" in this case was Taylor making whiskey for Herbst. The Taylor-Hay collection at the Filson has a contract for Taylor to make whiskey for Herbst, so it was a long term relationship. Herbst did not purchase the Old Judge distillery until the late 1890s when Bonded whiskey came about.
    I did some search on the census records and found John E. Fitzgerald in Milwaukee as a "Boiler maker". I suspect he worked as a maintenance man for Herbst as the warehouses were probably heated.
    Mike Veach
    Yeah, that's what I meant. The records indicate that Taylor was doing business as John E. Fitzgerald and a few other names. I worded it backwardsly.

    All I can find about John E. Fitzgerald in Milwaukee are the following, which I also found a bit fascinating. He may well have lived up to the name "Larceny".

    He's listed as an Internal Revenue gauger, first district, Milwaukee, in a few government publications from the early 1870s.

    He was indicted in 1876 on conspiracy to defraud the government in the manufacture and sale of whiskey, along with four brothers who were rectifiers plus a United States storekeeper. A pithy mention is made here: http://books.google.com/books?id=ZgI...waukee&f=false

    And testimony in the case, in which Fitzgerald testified that he had lived in Milwaukee for the past fifteen years, and was employed as a United States gauger from September 1869 until May 1875, with at least one suspension and restoration noted in 1872 or 1873, can be read here: http://books.google.com/books?id=EE9...page&q&f=false starting at the bottom of the page. (The case starts before this and goes on, but this is John E. Fitzgerald's actual testimony.)

    That's all I've wrung out of Google Books so far, but I find it fascinating in itself.
    Last edited by shoshani; 11-26-2013 at 17:14. Reason: Clarity regarding "storekeeper"

  10. #10
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    Re: Old Fitzgerald *before* S. C. Herbst

    If you (Prof Veach or otherwise) clicked that second link and are scratching your head wondering where the Fitzgerald testimony is...I linked the wrong one. Same trial, though. The link I meant to put is http://books.google.com/books?id=2aE...page&q&f=false . Sorry about that!
    Last edited by shoshani; 11-26-2013 at 17:54.

 

 

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