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  1. #1
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    History of the Old Charter line of bourbon...

    From researching this forum I know that Buffalo Trace purchased the Old Charter brand back in 1999. I was wondering if anyone know the history of this line of bourbons back to the 1970's?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Eastern Pennsylvania

    Re: History of the Old Charter line of bourbon...

    Compliments of Mike Veach:

    Old Charter History

    1687 - The Charter for Conn. Colony was hidden in the White Oak tree located at Hartford's courthouse (Louisville Public Library Information).

    1759 - Henri Chapiers (Henry Chapeze) is born in Nevers,
    France (U D Archives, Old Charter History File).

    1775 - 1783 - Henry Chapeze serves as a surgeon in the
    American Revolution (U D Archives History).

    1787 - Ben Chapeze (Sr.) is born (U D Archives, History).

    1810 - Henry Chapeze dies (U D Archives, History).

    1839 - Ben Chapeze (Sr.) dies (U D Archives, History).

    1867 - Adam and Ben Chapeze (sons of Ben Chapeze) establish a
    distillery at Chapeze Station in Bullit County. Their
    brand name was Old Charter. (Filson Club, Chapeze
    Family File).

    1874 - The Old Charter brand is first introduced (Liquor Store Magazine, Feb., 70).

    1886 - Wright and Taylor are first listed in the Louisville
    City Directory. Their address is 220 2nd Street. (U of
    L Archives).

    o - John J Wright and Marion E Taylor are the founders of Wright and Taylor (Wine and Spirits Bulletin, Jan 1891).

    1890 - Wright and Taylor move to 137 3rd Street (Louisville
    City Directory, U of L Archive).

    o - The Chapeze Brothers sell their label and existing
    stocks Leman and More who in turn sell it to Wright and
    Taylor (Bourbon Information Bureau Book).

    1891 - Wright and Taylor are selling Kentucky Taylor, Pride of Louisville, and Cane Spring Whiskies (Wine and Spirit Bulletin, Jan. 1891).

    1892 - Wright and Taylor dissolve their partnership. John J Wright is no longer a partner but Marion E Taylor does business under the same name. The brands are Pride of Louisville, Cane Springs, Fine Old Kentucky Taylor, and Old Logan (Wine and Spirits Bulletin, Louisville Public Library).
    1894 - Wright and Taylor move to 519 West Main (Louisville
    City Directory, U of L Archives).

    1896 - Wright and Taylor purchase the Old Charter Distillery and brand on Juy 28, 1896. They enlarge the distillery to a capacity of 1,000 bushels per day (U D Archives, Uncataloged letter, Thomas Bullit 12/15/36).

    1899 - Wright and Taylor move to 135 West Main Street
    (Louisville City Directory, U of L Archives).

    1900 - Wright and Taylor sell their first bottles of Old Charter Bottled in Bond (U D Archives, Uncataloged Letter, Thomas Bullit, 12/15/36).

    1901 - Wright and Taylor advertisement with a drawing of the distillery at Chapeze, Ky. and featuring Old Charter, Old Charter Rye, and Kentucky Taylor (Wine and Spirit Bulletin, Jan.1, 1901, page 4).

    o - Louisville hosts the Knight Templar's Triennial Conclave. Local distillers put up electric light displays including Wright and Taylor (Wine and Spirits Bulletin, Oct. 1, 1901, p. 20).

    1904 - Marion E Taylor is elected Vice President of the Wholesale Distillers Association and his photgraph is printed in the Wine and Spirits Bulletin (July 1, 1904, page 21).

    1905 - Wright and Taylor receive a favorable judgement from the U S Patent Office in a dispute over the Charter Oak brand name (U D Archives, Uncataloged Letter).

    o - Old Charter advertisement on page 45, of the Jan. 12, 1905 issue of the Wine and Spirit Bulletin.

    1906 - Wright and Taylor open offices in California and sell Old Charter up and down the coast, as far away as Nome Alaska (U D Archives, Uncataloged letter, Thomas Bullit 12/15/36).

    1910 - Marion E Taylor is elected an Honorary Member of the Louisville Board of Trade on Dec. 14 (Wine and Spirits Bulletin, Jan.1, 1911, page 24).

    1911 - Marion E Taylor gives several gifts, including a fountain, to the city of Natchez, Miss. (Wine and Spirits Bulletin, Sept.1, 1911, page 64).

    o - The 1911 Mida's Financial Index list Wright and Taylor as being located at 123 W Main St., louisville, Ky. with Dy. No. 266, 5th Dist. Chapeze, Ky. with a capital value of $600,000 to $750,000.

    1912 - Old Charter advertisements in Wine and Spirit Bulletin on Jan.1, page 4, and June 1, page 34c. Also has a photograph of sales force at Chapeze Station and article about visit on July 1, page 28.

    1913 - Wright and Taylor are advertising Old Charter in the
    special Southern Prosperity Edition on the Courier
    -Journal. (UD Archives, Uncataloged Manuscript.)

    o - The Louisville City Directory list Wright and Taylor at
    123 West Main Street (U of L Archives).

    1917-1933 - Wright and Taylor store all of the remaining Old
    Charter at the Stitzel Distillery warehouse (UD
    Archives, 993.m.6).

    1920 - Wright and Taylor move to 1016 Francis Building on the
    SW corner of 4th and Chestnut (Louisville City
    Directory. U of L Archives).

    o - Marion Taylor sends Henry Watterson a letter, dated Jan. 2, 1920, that if he could send watterson som whiskey, he would, but it would be immpossible to do so legally (Filson Club, Henry Watterson Papers).

    1923 - James Chapeze Hagan, the grandson of Adam Chapeze,
    purchases the distillery from Wright and Taylor.
    (Filson Club, Chapeze Family File).

    1929 - Stitzel Distillery bottles all of the remaining stocks
    of Old Charter so there is only Old Charter 12 year old
    and 13 summers old until after prohibition (UD
    Archives, 993.m.13).

    1933 - Bernheim distillery acquires the Old Charter Brand and
    stocks (Bourbon Information Bureau Booklet).

    o - Bernheim acquires Old Charter brand and new whiskey stocks from Wright and Taylor, but do not start selling the brand until it was fully aged for bond in 1937. Wright and Taylor are allowed to use the name for their remaining pre-prohibition stocks and Mr. Gerngoss allows a Canadian company to sell whiskey under the Old Charter name until his wiskey aged (U D Archives, Uncataloged Item).

    o - Stitzel-Weller had made 1,100 barrels of Old Charter in 1933 for Wright and Taylor and they were contracted to produce another 411 barrels (U D Archives, Uncataloged Document).

    1934 - Hagan forms the Kentucky Valley Distillery Company.
    (Filson Club, Chapeze Family File).
    o - After prohibition, Wright and Taylor still exist as a
    Real Estate Firm (Louisville City Directories, U of L

    1935 - The first year that Kentucky Valley Distilling appears
    in the Louisville City Directory (U of L Archives).

    1937 - Chapeze Station is renamed Limestone Springs. (Filson
    Club, Chapeze Family History).

    1938 - The last year the Kentucky Valley Distillery appears in
    the Louisville City Directory (U of L Archives).

    1974 - The 1,00,000th barrel of Old Charter was given by the Governor of Kentucky (Wendell Ford) to the Governor of Texas (Dolph Briscoe) as a gift (What's New at Schenley, Nov. 1973).

    1987 - United Distillers aquires Schenley. (C Morris,

    1994 - Old Charter Proprietor's Reserve is introduced as part of the Heritage Collection (M Veach, 3/25/96).

    MIke Veach
    Colonel Joseph B. "Bourbon Joe" Koch

    "Bourbon.....It's cheaper than therapy!!"



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