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  1. #51
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    Re: I Need Help with T.W. Samuels Post Pro History.

    Hi Everyone,

    Well, its been 3 weeks since I returned from Bardstown/Deatsville and what a great trip I had! The lady I got connected with (her father worked at the distillery for a time) was fantastic and set me up with a couple of people who had worked with my uncle at the distillery. One was John Mayer, who had purchased a large tract of land from my Uncle many years ago and also new him personally. He was a treasure trove of personal info on my Uncle as well as lots of info about the distillery. I visited the old homestead just up the road from the distillery and to my suprise, the foundation, fireplace and part of the chimney are still standing of my Uncle's old house! On that same piece of property stands the old spring house still standing and you could still here the spring gurgling inside. This spring supplied the distillery about 1/4 mile away, and later the Samuels Springs water company which was the final production at the distillery. I also had an enjoyable visit with a one James Allen Wiggs who worked at the distillery for 15 years before retiring from Jim Beam. He told me that the distillery in it's hey day was one of the largest in the country. I spent 3 days in the geneology room at the Bardstown library going through microfilm of the local newspaper. I had forgotten how much time it takes to look through microfilm! I only got through 3 years of the 30 years my uncle was involved. I did find one interesting article:

    From the Oct. 28th. 1942 newspaper, there was an article about the "Sale of Distillery in Deatsville - Capital stock of Country Distillers' Products bought by Foster & Company". It mentions that Foster & Co. was a partnership out of New York and was formed on July 30th. The officers of the company at that time were: President - Stanhope Foster of Great Neck, Long Island, NY, Vice Presidents - S.L. Westerman (my great uncle) of Detroit and Martin R. Doane of Joplin, Mo.; It mentions Mr. Doane will be replacing T. Williams Samuels who is no longer with the company as VP in charge of operations in Deatsville. The article goes on the mention that the personnel at the plant (nearly 800 employees) will remain intact and then it lists the department heads: Charles R. DeSpain - General Manager; Lee G. Brown - bottling; A.D. Campbell - warehouse; Gordon A. Graves - engineering; E.J. Snellen - maintenance; Ballard N. Coates - stock room; Jacob Wommer - labratory; Charles L. Spalding - personnel director and M.G. Keeling - head of the guards. It also mentions C.J. Rittman as being in charge of the office personnel and L.A. Rickert as the purchasing agent. It mentions that the distillery was one of the largest in the area producing grain alchohol for the war effort. An interesting note on this article - I found out reading the following weeks paper that the warehouse foreman, A.D. Campbell, passed away the following week! There was one other article of interest I found from around the end of 1943. The distillery was sued for 5 million dollars by the OPA for selling liquor at more than the ceiling price. It says that this was the first such suit in Kentucky since price controls were started.

    I was very fortunate to be able to tour the old distillery in Deatsville thanks to wku88 (Todd) and his cousin Jim for arranging this for me. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to walk through many of the buidlings where my Uncle once walked! There still is a lot of original equipment in the buildings, especially in the bottlehouse and powerhouse - amazing that stuff is still there after so many years! I really can't thank those two gentleman enough for getting me inside the fence - it was fantastic! I have lots of pictures to remind me of my time there.

    I managed to come away with a few items during my time there. I came across a couple of manilla folders with distillery paperwork that I haven't yet sorted through. I also came across a small box of T.W. Samuels labels which I was told were 1/2 pint labels and dated from the 1960's and 1970's. Here are the brands I've documented from those labels:

    1. T.W. Samuels, no proof or age statement. The currentl label looks a lot like this one.

    2. T.W. Samuels, back label to go with the above label, 86 proof, 4 years old, has a brief history on the distillery.

    3. Samuels 1844, 86 proof, 4 years old

    4. Kenbrook Deluxe Blended Whiskey, no proof or age.

    5. Old Jordan, no proof, 6 years old, bottled by Old Jordan Distillery, Deatsville, Nelson County, Ky.

    6. T.W. Samuels BIB, no age or proof, but I assume since it's BIB it would be 100 proof.

    7. Samuels Ninety, no age or proof, but once again, I'm assuming it's probably 90 proof by looking at the name.

    8. T.W. Samuels, 90 proof, no age, looks almost like the BIB label. Both this label and the BIB label are really nice looking.

    Well, that's all for now. Soon, I will tell you about the special find I made and maybe I'll be able to sort through the papers I have by then and give you some additional info.

    Mark

  2. #52
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    Re: I Need Help with T.W. Samuels Post Pro History.

    Hey Bettye Jo,

    Do you work primarily in the bottleshop or somewhere else? I worked in a brewery bottleshop for over 10 years and remember years ago when I visited the distillery, they took you into the bottleshop to watch the production. I also got to watch them bottling the EW23 for export to Japan (at that time) which was also great! It's to bad they don't offer that part of the tour anymore

    Mark

  3. #53
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    Re: I Need Help with T.W. Samuels Post Pro History.

    Mark,

    Have you seen the Sanborn maps of the Samuels' distilleries from 1886?

  4. #54
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    Re: I Need Help with T.W. Samuels Post Pro History.

    Hi Chuck,

    I have now, but didn't notice a Samuels distillery - I will have to look harder, and thanks for providing a link to these maps! Just returned from Bardstown again and will update shortly.

    Mark

  5. #55
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    Re: I Need Help with T.W. Samuels Post Pro History.

    The interesting part is that it shows two different Samuels distilleries, T. W. Samuels (#145) and W. B. Samuels (#241).

  6. #56
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    Re: I Need Help with T.W. Samuels Post Pro History.

    Hi everyone,

    Well, I just returned from another trip down south. Nephews graduation in southern Tn. then a visit to Berea KY. (I had my wife with me) and then on to Bardstown/Deatsville for a couple of days. Another walk through the old T.W. Samuels Distillery with my wife and a couple of suprises from Jim S. - thanks so much Jim! I have sorted through the paperwork I brought back with me in April and made an amazing discovery. Most of the paper work I received was assorted production logs and label inventory sheets. But one folder contained sample labels from 1938 until 1954! Sample labels were the labels distillery's (and breweries) had to submit to the government for approval before they could start producing the product. These labels included the original government form that had to be sent along with them - many of the labels were still attached to the back of the forms! That was the mother lode of finds for me. It gave me a chance to document a total of 22 labels that the distillery had produced and here they are;

    1. T. W. Samuels
    2. Old Jordan
    3. Elijah Craig
    4. Jim Porter
    5. Old Frontier
    6. Samuels 1844
    7. Four Decades
    8. Pebbelford
    9. 295 Corn Whiskey
    10. 295 Kentucky whiskey, colored and flavored with wood chips
    11. Old Buck Brand Corn Whiskey
    12. Continental Special Reserve
    13. Colonel Tyson's
    14. Samuels Bond
    15. Supre-Macy
    16. Morning Glory Corn Whiskey
    17. Singing Hills Corn Whiskey
    18. Old Cobweb Brand
    19. Old Talbott Tavern
    20. Kenbrook Blended Whiskey
    21. Mr. Bourbon
    22. A private label which would have the name of the person on the label.

    I found out that my Uncle and his company purchased the distillery in 1943 (correction from previous post) and sold it in July of 1974. I was told that the man who bought it from Mr. Westerman, a one Mr. Thompson from Scotland, went around Bardstown telling anyone who'd listen that he was "Mr. Bourbon" which apparently angered some of the long time bourbon people in town. I was also told that my uncle was quite a "Ladies Man" in his younger days.

    On my most recent visit, I recieved some Letterheads with Sam Westerman's name on them, some T. W. Samuels holiday boxes and some personal memo's from my great uncle, both in his own hand and also typewritten. He would send a written memo to his secretary and she would type it out and pass it on. He had really lousy handwriting! So those memo's were a real find for the family. I also found out from my cousin that Mr. Westerman possibly had a son and that his son may still be living in Michigan. His name is Michael Westerman, so there's another lead for me to follow up on. The real suprise items for me that I found will have to wait until I have all of them up here in Michigan. A couple of items are waiting for me to come back and get them so, another trip to Deatsville this summer is in order. My wife says I'm over the top!

    I did get in contact with Bill Samuels from Maker's Mark and he sent me a nice letter. I don't know if I mentioned it in a previous post, but I went down to there distillery in April and talked to my tour guide Herb after the tour. He told me when the Samuels' family started up the distillery in Loretto, they were going to call it the Old Samuels Distilling Co. - in fact, he had a picture of the office with the sign attached. He said the family got sued for the name, and the only person I could think of that would complain about the name would have been my great uncle! So, I wasn't sure how I would be received by Bill when I contacted him. He was very gracious and welcoming and told me I needed to come to the family archives the next time I was in Louisville as there was a lot of items pertaining to the old distillery. He also told me he knew and remembered Mr. Westerman so I'm looking forward to talking to him someday in the near future.

    That's all for now - will post more as it becomes available

    Mark

  7. #57
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    Re: I Need Help with T.W. Samuels Post Pro History.

    The reasons to be wary are mutual. Remember that it was Bill Samuels who mercilessly trashed your great uncle's distillery as part of the Maker's Mark foundation myth.

    This solves something for me too, although it's a small thing. When I was first researching bourbon history, back in 1991, I distinctly remembered seeing something about another distillery making an Elijah Craig bourbon before Heaven Hill did, but I could never find the reference again. I now see it was T. W. Samuels.

    I was working at Heaven's Hill's Louisville ad agency, FS&M, in the late 1970s when Heaven Hill's initial package designs for their Elijah Craig were being developed there, under the guidance of Max Shapira, so I had that piece of the puzzle from personal experience, but I could never pin down the brand's previous life.
    Last edited by cowdery; 06-17-2009 at 18:41.

  8. #58
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    Re: I Need Help with T.W. Samuels Post Pro History.

    Hi Chuck,

    Just to be clear about it, I haven't yet found an Elijah Craig Label. There is documentation of the distillery making this product from the "Bluegrass, Belles and Bourbon" article I recieved some years ago, and there is one reference to an E.C. in one of the bottling records I have which I'm assuming is Elijah Craig. Wasn't Charle DeSpain involved in the Heaven Hill distillery? That may explain how they ended up with the EC labels.

    Mark

  9. #59
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    Re: I Need Help with T.W. Samuels Post Pro History.

    Yes, Charlie DeSpain was a honcho at Heaven Hill, general manager or some such title. I never knew him but always heard he was a real son-of-a-bitch. He made a lot of enemies, in particular Harry Beam, who left HH because of their conflicts.

    However HH got the Elijah Craig name, they completely rebooted the product.

  10. #60
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    Re: I Need Help with T.W. Samuels Post Pro History.

    Hi all,

    One more label that I documented that I forgot to mention was Lionstone Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky. There was what I thought was a tank placcard at the old distillery with the label attached to it. Most everything I see on this brand says Bardstown, Ky. Does anyone know anything about this brand and how and when it connects to T.W. Samuels distillery??

    Thanks!

    Mark

 

 

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