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dave ziegler

My Memories of Kinsey Distilling

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jinenjo

Dave,

Thanks for the stardust memories.

I've just been reading your posts, and having grown up in south Jersey--much later, however--I find your thoughts and anecdotes to be quite enjoyable. I hope someone on this site has given you a taste, or at least an empty bottle, of the Old Hickory you so fondly remember. If I ever come across one, I'll let you know!

-Lear

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dave ziegler

Yes I was lucky enought to Have Kurt give me his last full bottle of Old Hickory, It was one that sold to Medely when they quit and they stamped over Linfield and put KY on the label. It is as smooth as the first day I drank it and I hope some day to get a spare one and Maybe a Bottle of the very first Whiskey I ever drank there Rittenhouse Rye they Make it now at Heaven Hills but to Me the old Continental stuff was much better. Who knows there may be someone out there just getting ready to give me one. It was a joy to have a shot of the old Hickory after all those years. I have just written a thread about when the #12 Still shut down and contary to what some people on the world wide Web say Continental ran it till 1951 making all there bourbons there and Kinsey Blended and Rittenhouse Rye I called an oldtimer almost 90 yrs old that worked there from 1936 till 1980 and he told me flat out it ran till 1951! I will continue to write all I can I had not written for awhile as my old Dog Nikki my best friend died 2 1/2 weeks ago and Jeff made a thread to remember Nikki with Pictures I had sent him on off topic. He was a very wonderful Dog!

Dave

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jinenjo

Glad to hear you got to taste the "dew" again after all these years.

It sounds like you have a book in you, Dave, waiting to come out!

As for your "best friend", I send my deepest condolences. I wish you the best during your process of mourning your beloved dog.

-Lear

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bbo40

Hello Dave;

Thank you for posting all of your memories of the distillery. I have read most of them and find them to be very informative and entertaining. I have have always been fascinated by Kinsey's since the day back in the late 1980's when I went for a hike back thru the game lands and stumbled acrosst the farmhouse and barn in the back and then the road leading up to the backside of the industrial complex. I never knew the place was so big! Over the years I have returned several times to do more hiking and exploring; and have taken a few pictures myself. But the history and functions of the distillery were always hard to come by, your writings have really open up how the place operated in its prime and your pictures explained to me how the place functioned. I have been in some of those same building over the years but never really knew what I was looking at. Thanks again for all the information that you have provided. I was just back there with 2 friends on Palm sunday of this year and the old farm house is all but fallen in and the old barn looks like it has been pushed down. If you have the time, could you fill me in on a brief history of the old Kinsey Farmhouse and when it was last lived in. Thank you again

bob N.

p.s. if you have high-speed internet there is a website called pennpilot.org [run thru Penn University I think] and you can find aireal photos of the linefield area from 1942 and 1971 in their archives. The site is a little difficult to navigate but utterly facinating once you get the hang of it. Just thought I would let you know.

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dave ziegler
Hello Dave;

Thank you for posting all of your memories of the distillery. I have read most of them and find them to be very informative and entertaining. I have have always been fascinated by Kinsey's since the day back in the late 1980's when I went for a hike back thru the game lands and stumbled acrosst the farmhouse and barn in the back and then the road leading up to the backside of the industrial complex. I never knew the place was so big! Over the years I have returned several times to do more hiking and exploring; and have taken a few pictures myself. But the history and functions of the distillery were always hard to come by, your writings have really open up how the place operated in its prime and your pictures explained to me how the place functioned. I have been in some of those same building over the years but never really knew what I was looking at. Thanks again for all the information that you have provided. I was just back there with 2 friends on Palm sunday of this year and the old farm house is all but fallen in and the old barn looks like it has been pushed down. If you have the time, could you fill me in on a brief history of the old Kinsey Farmhouse and when it was last lived in. Thank you again

bob N.

p.s. if you have high-speed internet there is a website called pennpilot.org [run thru Penn University I think] and you can find aireal photos of the linefield area from 1942 and 1971 in their archives. The site is a little difficult to navigate but utterly facinating once you get the hang of it. Just thought I would let you know.

Hi Bob glad you are interested, the House was built in two parts the frist in 1731 the second half in 1799 by William Evans a son of the original founders of Limerick Pa. The original track of land when Jacob Kinsey bought it was 300 acres. He lived there from 1891 till he sold the plant at owed money Auction in late 1939 / 1940 to Continental Distilling a part of the Publicker Industries Corp. Kinesy built all the front buildings and the other warehouses, the Explosion proof one's all 14 were built from information from a man I know who worked there from 1936 till 1980 around 1944 after they got all the Fire Hydrents you saw between them put in. They when built were the Most high tech whiskey storage aging warehouses of their time. When Continental bought the place they bought 200 acre plus all three Comapny homes the two out front and the Kinsey House by the river. In 1966 William Theodois lived there and was the Plant superintendent He died just around when I was hired of a heart attack at 39 years old. They then Hired Thomas Holman Bryant who worked for Doughertys in 1963 when they bought Dougherty's Distilling in phila in a silent auction. He and Mr Ed Zuca shared the home by the river it was made into two apartments up stairs Mr Bryant and down for Mr Zucca and they moved up from Phila because they had just opened the New Bottling house there and closed the Phila one. Mr Bryant lived there till 1977 when He retired and I am not sure how long after that Ed Zucca lived there but from what I know someone lived in it till early 1980's it had had a brand new roof put on in the late 1970's before the ground was sold to Eugene Ostreicher in 1982 of New York City and Publicker leased the bottling house and tankage and front buildings bottling Antifreeze and other products till 1986 spring when they were gone forever. Ostreicher still owns it and is the one who has left it get destroyed. He charged way more then what he promissed when they leased it and everything just became too much for Publicker they relised to late they should have kept it. A sad story to read and harder for me as I kept the grounds around that house and they were Perfect Mr Bryant even had a swiming pool in the back. Somewhere behind the house toward the river is a marker telling about the very first Post office in Limerick that sat there along the river and that George Washington had been there to send mail. Publicker had put the marker up to honor the spot for history either kids stole it or it is in the bushes somewhere I tried to find it to get pictures but could not. So is the story of the House at the Neck which is what it was called before Jacob Kinsey Bought it in 1891. Hope this helps you understand the place better everything was amazingly in good shape when Publicker was there till 1976 when Mr Sy Neuman died then things started downward for good. He was an amazing leader of Men it has been said and visionary who's idea's back then are used as normal today it was his idea to tear apart the old Bourbon barrels send them to Scotland to be filled with scotch and Publicker was the first to ask the Govermant permission to do this! THE REASON kINSEY ENDED UP OUT OF BUSSINESS IS proabition caused the Plant to sit unused from 1922 till it ended fall of 1933. So that is how it was.

Dave Z

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dave ziegler

Last night when I spoke to Mr Al Landis the great Nephew of Jacob Kinsey while giving my Talk about the Distillery He told me about when the Place reopened in fall of 1933. Mr Kinsey came to their home and said to him I want you to work for me at my Distillery, He had never done anything like it and did not know then that he would roll the first Whiskey barrel to be dumped there after Prohibition to the trough and dump it to be bottled! Finding these things out for History is exciting to me and He said those were exciting days there, they started by distilling and filling all the Warehouses 20,000 barrels each there at the time when filled then building some More warehouses. Mr Kinsey was then 75 so to those on the web that Think he was not active I can say He was working there till late 1939 / 1940 when it went the Sheriffs sale. And Mr Kinsey Lived to be 94 years old and the Plant when Publicker Closed had been there operating for 94 Years! He died in 1952 and that is why in the Ads they called him America's oldest Living Distiller.

Dave Z

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bbo40

Thanks Dave for the story on the old Kinsey farmhouse. It did look like it was in pretty good shape when I first came acrosst it all those years ago back in the late 1980's. I guess at that point it had only been empty for a few years. If I get to it before the nice weather comes I will have to go thru my pictures of the distillary and see if I can post them on this site. If you have highspeed internet I posted a few videos that I took this past Palm Sunday Youtube.com . Just put in 'bbo40' and it should link you to my channel. I took short videos of the farmhouse, barn and the back part of the distillary. thanks again for all the information you have provided and if you have anymore stories I am sure that we all are interested in hearing them. I just found out this weekend that my great uncle used to work at the distillary, his name was Alex "Sonny" Bartha. Not sure when or how long he was there, but my dad thinks it was for quite a few years from what he remembers; thru the 50's and 60's.

till next time, Bob

p.s. I forgot to ask, how did the talk go on Monday night? hope it went well for you and I wish I could have been there

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dave ziegler

Hi Bob the talk went real good and People seemed to enjoy it. Also I met Jacob G Kinsey's great Nephew Al there and he said all my history of Mr Kinsey was right on the money! I had all my pictures and some bottles and stuff there and the Chart I made of the Plant which I gave to the Historic Society. If you ever get in Limerick from 1:00 Pm till 4:00 Pm on a sunday they are open and have many bottles I have given them and other stuff for History. MR Kinsey's great Nephew dumped the first Barrel that came of age at the Plant after they started up when Prohibition ended. They had a bottle line in the old #10 Rye Building then and the still in there was a column still or Continuous still type! Mr Kinsey was there till the place was sold at auction to Continental in late 1939 / 1940 he was then going on 82 years old. When he reopened after Prohibition he was then 75 years old most people at that age today give up! Take care and keep in touch.

Dave

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bneuman

Hey Dave - thanks for working so hard to keep the history alive. I'm actually Si Neuman's grandson and having never been in the plants or been a part of the whiskey operation, its great to get a feel for what it was like back then!

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dave ziegler

B. Neuman First let me say I am very happy to keep the History going of one of the greatest Company's Publicker / Continental Distilling and your Grandfather Si Neuman. Publicker Industries was one of the most prolific companys ever and Mr Simon Neuman was a Born Leader of Men and his idea's back then were new and unhread of but today those idea's are common practice. He was a Giant among Company Chairman and when he did something He always did it big and Very fast. That was one of the important reasons for His great success he did not sit around thinking should I or not he got it done. Whenever he would come up to ride around the plant there was a feeling of Security. Him being there spoke of the Place going on. When he died everyone felt like things were just going down for good. His ideas such as getting the Government to let them ship whiskey barrels to Scotland to be refilled with scotch and make a better product have continued to this day. He decided to build Stills in Scotland and did it quickly and in a very big way. Inver House became the toast of the world one of the all time most famous of Scotchs. The Quality of the Whiskeys, Ryes and Industrial Alcohols came from His leadership. And the whole time 5,000 world wide Employees had good paying jobs and happy lives due to his Leadership. At Kinsey in those days we had 600 people with great good paying jobs in a clean Park like plant. We would always do our best to keep the plant looking good and we had a feeling of Pride in the Plant. Who could ever forget the beginning of it all, them in 1933 sitting down after Probitiion picking product names many for the City he loved such as Philadelphia Blended Whiskey, Cobbs creek Whiskey, Rittenhouse Rye the very Best Rye whiskey of its time. And Inver House Scotch in the 1960's named for his beautiful Home. I will always be proud to have worked there for a company that was in its time the best of the Best! And He will always be remebered as A Giant in the Industry. And a Great Man!

Dave Z

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dave ziegler

This morning my Mind is going back to Slogans for Whiskey long ago. Publicker had some real Neat ones my Favorite was on the Neon going over the Waltwhitman Bridge on the stack it said " Old Hickory America's Most Magnificent Bourbon" another was "It Seems all the nicest People drink Old Hickory" Then there was Inver House " Soft as A Kiss" " Inver's In London" and other places. And " Kinsey The Unhurried Whiskey" just to name a few.

The Others all had them too such as Kessler smooth as Silk. Those were the Good Old days!

Dave Z

Old Hickory America's Most Magnificent Bourbon"

---------------------------------------------

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dave ziegler
This morning my Mind is going back to Slogans for Whiskey long ago. Publicker had some real Neat ones my Favorite was on the Neon going over the Waltwhitman Bridge on the stack it said " Old Hickory America's Most Magnificent Bourbon" another was "It Seems all the nicest People drink Old Hickory" Then there was Inver House " Soft as A Kiss" " Inver's In London" and other places. And " Kinsey The Unhurried Whiskey" just to name a few.

The Others all had them too such as Kessler smooth as Silk. Those were the Good Old days!

Dave Z

Old Hickory America's Most Magnificent Bourbon"

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Another Slogan was Philadelphia Blended "The Heritage Whiskey"

Publicker had many things for advertising those days everything from Rulers with the Price of Haller's SRS to Old Hickory Cig Lighters. Governors club Ice trays Clocks I have a Haller's County Fair covered wagon with a 1/10TH BOTTLE IN IT. Marketing is everything and it worked for them in the good days. Of all the Blends they had, Philadelphia was a classic Whiskey Blend and one of their biggest sellers. On the top of all the Skol Vodka Cases it states just stay Skol instead of Vodka. And they even had a blend of only Straight whiskeys called Old Classic I never had any but have a bottle stating a blend of many Premium Straight whiskeys 7 years & 8 years old.

Dave Z

Old Hickory America's Most Magnificent Bourbon

-----------------------------------------------

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OscarV

Funny coincedance, I just finished a book by Richard Stark "Killtown" original copyright 1964.

And I quote,..."Parker found the kitchen, found a bottle of Philadelphia and a glass and a tray of ice cubes,..."

I did a search and it looks like Heaven Hill has the name now.

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dave ziegler

You are right Heaven Hills has the Philadelphia Label and it still sells good except this state where you have to special order it as they need all the room they can for good old Wine! They also have Guckenheimer which they got from Continental as they had that label at the end also. And of course The Rittenhouse Rye Brand good stuff but can't get it in Pa. Its funny you saw that as a friend was watching an old early 1970's Movie the other day and in it a Lady offered a drink to the other person she offered 3 things but he siad the first one was Amareto Lolita which is what they took. It was a big seller for Continental and was bottled in the old Kinsey Bottle house out front. I do not have any of that but I do have half a bottle of Cafe Lolita and lots of My Favorite Peanut Lolita a wonderful Bourbon and Peanut Liquor! No one other then Continental ever made that. I have ever seen. I hope some day for some other former Continental / Publicker People to see these writting and give some insight. There should be some around yet. Philadelphia Blended was always my favorite Blended whiskey I hope Heaven Hills does a good job on it as they have with Rittenhouse Rye which I was able to get from Binneys.

Dave

Old Hickory America's Most Magnificent bourbon

-----------------------------------------------

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dave ziegler

I have been thinking about all the Idea's great brands and good people that worked for Publicker and it is such a shame for it to be gone! When I worked at Kinsey we never worried about having a job as long as we did it right. There was a feeling of Safey when Mr Neuman was Living and hope of new idea's in the works. From the day he took over as Chairman his ideas were always big and do them fast, he was not one to sit and wait to see how the winds would go. He believed that if you have a great Idea you should put it to work ASAP! And That is why He led the company to greatness. Be it using whiskey Barrels for Scotch or Making Blended Whiskey a better product he never stopped his process of Idea's. And at the same time He had great pride in the Kinsey Plant and keeping it beautiful. When he was running the Company Kinsey was the showcase of the company through his leader ship we had beautiful Lawns well kept Company Homes flower beds, and many beautiful trees! We also had to keep the plant very clean and we were told never put anything in the river or the ground protect our water! We had high end fire frighting equipment and all the things we needed to get things done. Quality Control was their biggest thing those days they had 4 Quality Labs and if you bought a bottle of Old Hickory one week and went back six months later the Quality was always consistent. Our Whiskeys were right in with the Best Of the best even the cheaper ones were very good value for the price. Also The Company was very Proud under Mr Neuman to be an American company and very much for our country! They donated many bottles of Whiskey to the Army, Navy and Marines! I am very Happy to be able to speak of the greatest Industrial and Drinking Alcohol maker in history in my eye's and was very lucky to work for such a company! I learned how to work hard there and the joy of being a part of a great company. I found Many notes from people who were very sad to find out they were closing one Lady said I do not know what I will do without my Phila Blended Whiskey, a state store in Ohio asked if they had any more caffe Lolita they could send. During the Marshel Plan in 1944 Publicker donated many rail cars of Grain at Kinsey to save lives they gave it and asked for nothing in return! This is the reason i try my best to keep history alive for Publicker / Continental Distilling my tribute to an amazing Company started by Harry Publicker and driven to greatness by Si Neuman!

Dave Z

Old Hickory America's Most Magnificent Bourbon

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Gillman

Well put, Dave. In my career I have often seen big things happen when one person has the drive, determination and ability to make them happen. Nothing of any significance can occur without a dedicated team at all levels of an organisation, but you need one person's drive and constant attention (also, vision) to keep the whole thing moving and growing (think of what Jim does for SB, same kind of thing).

Gary

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dave ziegler

How right you are Gary That one person brings out the very best in the rest of the team and gets things done that seem impossiable. Real Leadership comes from one person willing to try something and having the abilty to get others on board to believe as a team with success as the end game and no thought of not trying or fear! By the way I meant to ask you if you ever in the old days tried Continentals Embassy Club Canadian Whiskey as I have been told by some old timers that it was very good and having not drank it or many of those whiskeys have no Idea and your imput is always good!

Dave

Old Hickory America's Most Magnificent Bourbon

---------------------------------------------------

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Gillman

I don't recall that particular brand, Dave. In Canada, in the past, and partly because of various Provincial restrictions, there tended to be sold brands made only in the Province or associated to a distillery headquartered there. I grew up in Montreal and so we were Seagram's people, i.e., we bought the whiskies made by the Bronfman family who owned Seagram's then. It was a point of pride, I recall, to drink Crown Royal, but also Seagram V.O. Some families however supported Schenley products, and this often would have been because a member of the family worked there or was connected somehow to the Schenley business in Valleyfield, Quebec (it is now owned by Barton).

I do not recall much Canadian Club being drunk in Montreal then, probably a lot was, but that was an Ontario brand, not a local brand. And very few people (that I or my family knew) drank Scotch. My grandfather did occasionally take a drink of Black and White, but generally our crowd drank "rye" and that almost always meant Crown Royal or more commonly VO or 5 Star. It was consumed with ginger ale, cola and on the rocks, even neat sometimes.

Second to "rye" in popularity then was gin. London dry gin was huge. Not Martinis, but rather gin and tonic.

Gary

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PhilsFan

Dave, That's fascinating stuff...Did you ever think about writing a book? It certainly sounds like you have plenty of material.

My Mom now lives in Lancaster and my Wife and I visit every July for a week. Do you ever do tours of the Kinsey distillery, or is it not in shape for that?

-Joe

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dave ziegler

Joe if you ever want to take a walk around I will take you I live only 4 miles from it. We have to go in by way of the back near the river as it is abandon and the still is gone but i love to show people stuff and even though the buldings are locked we can walk around and take pictures and I can tell you what every Building was and did! Also the old dSP#10 Rye building a barn is still standing and it is pure history with its Stair case with Kinsey #10 Stenceled on it. There is the old Kinsey Bottle house which was used till 1979 for Liquors and the old Wood and Brick warehouses are still standing too. Walking through there is like a walk in a park and when it was operating it looked like a park. You will see Deer Pheasants birds and cool Breezes from the river. I always loved the Place on the hottest days we wore Winter coats in the Warehouses! I can still smell the wiskey and times when the doors were broken open and you went in You could still smell it coming from the cement floors where it has soaked in!

BE WELL Joe

Dave

Old Hickory America's Most Magnifiecnt Bourbon

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PhilsFan
Joe if you ever want to take a walk around I will take you I live only 4 miles from it. BE WELL Joe

Dave

Old Hickory America's Most Magnifiecnt Bourbon

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Dave, Thanks...I'd reallly like to take you up on that... As we get closer to the time (it'll be somewhere around July 5th) I'll send you a PM for more info. Thanks again, Joe

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dave ziegler

Joe it would be Pleasure and a good walk to about a mile in and out 14 Explosion proof buildings. And so many things and Buildings it will give you much history of distilling in Pa and the Vision of Si Neuman and Publicker Industries! The steel Racks in the 14 explosion proof buildings were so strong when they decided the stack big barrels they had to use a Welding Rod Cutting torch to cut them to take them out I was there hauling them down to the old steer pens then on the yard gang. You will be amazed at the size of the two big storage tanks even bigger then they look on my Pictures on my threads! Let me Know I love visiting the old girl but not by myself do not want to be out in such a big abandon place by myself at my age 60 any more. I do not think there was any Distillery as beautiful as Kinsey was! It was like being in a beautiful Park!

Dave

Old Hickory America's Most Magnificent Bourbon

----------------------------------------------

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dave ziegler

One last thing It was the safest Distillery & Bottling Plant in the USA those days. Fire drill's every month I have papers from the 1950's when My Dad worked there about the monthly Fire drills and they always started near the old Brick and wood Warehouses. We had lots of Water supply and our own Fire truck and the Local Fire company Linfield Fire Company would come once a month for the drills! It was a Place built with Vision and good old Amecican Ingenutiy!

Dave Z

Old Hickory America's Most Magnificent Bourbon

--------------------------------------------------

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dave ziegler

I wish everyone on this Site could have seen the Plant in those days it was a very Beautiful place and a well run Operation. Publicker not only had this bottle house but one in Lemont IL and a Chemical plant in La and the giant plant in Phila with two stills and a Industrial Bottling house they made Toline, Antifreeze, Fuscol Oil, products to be used in Detergents and much more also 4 Lab's and a Coopering Plant. Those days were amazing and I have never met anyone that was not proud they worked for Publicker and its Affiliates.

Dave Z

Old Hickory America's Most Magnificent Bourbon

------------------------------------------------

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BourbonJoe

I met Dave Ziegler this morning for coffee. What a great guy. I learned a lot more about Kinsey, Continental etc. He is a wealth of knowledge. I presented him with a nearly full 1.75 of Philadelphia Whiskey from Continental. He gave me some old Publicker brochures and labels. It is always nice to meet up with SB.com people.

Joe :usflag:

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