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chefmel

I Need Help with T.W. Samuels Post Pro History.

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cowdery

Thanks, Mark. That's great stuff.

Re-reading Sam's account in his book, it appears he left the company when Robert Block (that's the Cincinnati connection) sold it about 1943. He identifies the new owners as the Foster Trading Corporation of New York and that's about all he has to say about the new owners.

Mark (chefmel) hasn't given us any names, including his own, so I hope he can tie those pieces together for us. Does that name (Foster Trading) means anything to you?

It looks like 1943 is when Sam Cecil, Charlie DeSpain, and perhaps the Elijah Craig brand, all left Deatsville and made the trek to Heaven Hill. I suspect Sam's account of the post-1943 history is spotty because he wasn't there. Leslie Samuels, of course, was dead by then and Bill Sr. left in 1943 too. He was out of the business for ten years, then in 1953 bought what is now Maker's Mark.

One thing that is always left out of the Maker's Mark foundation myth is the fact that Bill Samuels Sr. was prohibitted from using the family name because they had sold it along with the distillery. Today, that too is owned by Heaven Hill.

I am particularly glad to get the information about Elijah Craig. I knew Heaven Hill didn't originate the brand, I even once saw who did, but I've never since been able to put my hands on that information. This doesn't necessarily prove Samuels started it either, they may have acquired it from someone, but this makes it seem likely that Heaven Hill acquired it from Samuel's in 1943, probably through the involvement of Charlie DeSpain, who was very important in Heaven Hill's history, although he was detested by many.

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bourbonv

The 1966 Industry Red Book states that the T W Samuels Distillery in Deatsville has 16 active brands.

Mike Veach

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cowdery
The 1966 Industry Red Book states that the T W Samuels Distillery in Deatsville has 16 active brands.

Mike Veach

Without listing them, I assume.

My very vague recollection is that the Elijah Craig and Evan Williams brands actually originated at a distillery in Franklin or maybe Scott County. I believe I saw this in a file at the Kentucky History Museum in Frankfort, but I didn't note it then and haven't been able to find it since. What say you about that, Mike?

I'm not quite sure when Heaven Hill started to market Evan Williams, but I know they didn't launch their Elijah Craig until the mid-seventies.

Is it possible T. W. Samuels had both of those brands in 1966?

It makes sense that Samuels, as a commodity producer, would shut down in the early 1970s as opposed to the 1950s. That's when the market tanked.

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bourbonv

Chuck,

The book may list the brands but I would have to go back and look. I too, seem to remember the company that owned Elijah Craig before Heaven Hill but don't recall who it was. I have some reference books at home that might be where I saw that information. I will try to look it up sometime after New Year Day.

Mike Veach

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chefmel
I'm glad finally to see this documented. I know I have a childhood memory of seeing smoke coming out of the stack at Deatsville. I was born in 1957, so unless I lived another life in this area immediately prior to this one....

My grandfathers brother worked the warehouses there until the mid or late 60s and I remember the bottling going to the mid 70s.

Thanks, Mark. This is interesting.

No problem - glad you're enjoying it! Hopefully will have more info next spring/summer.

Mark

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chefmel
MarK, My wife and I were down in Bardstown for the KBF last year. (2007) While on a tour of Maker's Mark we were joined about half way through our tour, by none other than the widow of Sam Cecil. If I remember correctly, her name was Jean. Maybe you could get in touch with Maker's Mark, and they could get in touch with her or other members of Sam Cecil's family and maybe they could be of assistance to you. Hope this helps you out a little. Joe

Thanks Joe for the info!

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chefmel
Thanks, Mark. That's great stuff.

Re-reading Sam's account in his book, it appears he left the company when Robert Block (that's the Cincinnati connection) sold it about 1943. He identifies the new owners as the Foster Trading Corporation of New York and that's about all he has to say about the new owners.

Mark (chefmel) hasn't given us any names, including his own, so I hope he can tie those pieces together for us. Does that name (Foster Trading) means anything to you?

It looks like 1943 is when Sam Cecil, Charlie DeSpain, and perhaps the Elijah Craig brand, all left Deatsville and made the trek to Heaven Hill. I suspect Sam's account of the post-1943 history is spotty because he wasn't there. Leslie Samuels, of course, was dead by then and Bill Sr. left in 1943 too. He was out of the business for ten years, then in 1953 bought what is now Maker's Mark.

One thing that is always left out of the Maker's Mark foundation myth is the fact that Bill Samuels Sr. was prohibitted from using the family name because they had sold it along with the distillery. Today, that too is owned by Heaven Hill.

I am particularly glad to get the information about Elijah Craig. I knew Heaven Hill didn't originate the brand, I even once saw who did, but I've never since been able to put my hands on that information. This doesn't necessarily prove Samuels started it either, they may have acquired it from someone, but this makes it seem likely that Heaven Hill acquired it from Samuel's in 1943, probably through the involvement of Charlie DeSpain, who was very important in Heaven Hill's history, although he was detested by many.

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chefmel

Is it possible T. W. Samuels had both of those brands in 1966?

It makes sense that Samuels, as a commodity producer, would shut down in the early 1970s as opposed to the 1950s. That's when the market tanked.

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chefmel

Mark (chefmel) hasn't given us any names, including his own, so I hope he can tie those pieces together for us. Does that name (Foster Trading) means anything to you? .

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chefmel
Chuck,

The book may list the brands but I would have to go back and look. I too, seem to remember the company that owned Elijah Craig before Heaven Hill but don't recall who it was. I have some reference books at home that might be where I saw that information. I will try to look it up sometime after New Year Day.

Mike Veach

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chefmel

Hey Everyone,

Thanks to all for the additional information provided! Keep it coming as you find it, and so will I. Chuck, I heard at the last Michigan get-together that I may have the pleasure of meeting you in the coming month. I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible. Happy New Year to all!!

Mark

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cowdery

These things never fit together perfectly, but this is shaping up pretty well. Thanks, Mark, for adding so much to our understanding of this important distillery.

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Josh
These things never fit together perfectly, but this is shaping up pretty well. Thanks, Mark, for adding so much to our understanding of this important distillery.

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chefmel

Hi Everyone,

I'm planning on going back to Deatsville in April, so hopefully will have some updates then.

Mark

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fishnbowljoe

Keep plugging away Mel, and keep us posted. Joe

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chefmel

Hi Everyone,

Well, I have now documented the 5th label produced (or at least distilled) from T.W. Samuels. Four Decades Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, BIB, Distilled by T.W. Samuels, bottled and Distributed by Country Distillers Products (can't read the city). This was a mini bottle that just sold on ebay - unfortunately, not to me! According to the description, it was distilled in 1935 and bottled in 1943 which would make it 8yr. old Bourbon? I've heard the name Country Distillers Products, but don't remember if or how it ties in to the distillery. Anyway, it was exciting to see and I downloaded both pictures. If anyone knows how to put a picture in a post, let me know and I will include them.

One more month till Deatsville . . . :grin:

Mark

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chefmel

Hi anyone and everyone,

Just returned from my trip to Deatsville and came away with a lot of new information. I don't know if anyone is still watching this post - if not, then this will be info someone can use in the future for research on KY. distilleries and T. W. Samuels in particular. It's going to take me at least a couple of weeks to sort through what I brought home and will post my findings at that time. I will say I've been able to document many brands that I didn't know existed. I'll be back with more info soon.

Mark

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fishnbowljoe

Keep posting Mark. I'm interested about what you found on your trip. Joe

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Bourbon Geek

Mark,

A little additional info ... I noted from earlier posts there was a discussion about how the distillery was re-financed for the post-prohibition rebuild. The info stated that ... "After prohibition in 1933, Mr. Samuels was anxious to re-open the distillery, but didn't have the capital to do it. He was introduced to some investors from Cincinatti who were interested in getting into the distilling business and they decided to move forward with there plans. Mr. Samuels capital in the project was his knowledge of the distilling business and the investors put up the cash." it goes on to say ... eventually ... "Mr. Samuels didn't have the money to buy his investors out and eventually left the distillery and started Maker's Mark down in Lorreto."

While this is true in substance, it is not completely correct. While Mr. Samuels could not finance the whole re-build himself, he did contribute substantially to the effort ... as did others ... including the investment guys from Cincy. Best as I can put together, it was essentially a private stock sale. As time went along, Mr. Samuels bought back some of the outlying shares, but the folks from Cincy bought more ... finally, they were the clear majority owners ... I'm pretty sure that the historical business records show that Mr. Samuels became the VP or his own namesake company.

Eventually, he completely sold out his interest in the company ... along with all of the brands associated with it ...(I am also fairly certain that Old Jordan was among the family brands)... and apparently the use of his family name in the bourbon business, too.

I'm sure that this capital is what he used to finance the purchase of the Burks Spring Distillery in Loretto ... and to pay for operations until sales started paying himn back. (I think the purchase price of the Burks Spring property was around $35,000 give or take.)

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chefmel
Mark,

A little additional info ... I noted from earlier posts there was a discussion about how the distillery was re-financed for the post-prohibition rebuild. The info stated that ... "After prohibition in 1933, Mr. Samuels was anxious to re-open the distillery, but didn't have the capital to do it. He was introduced to some investors from Cincinatti who were interested in getting into the distilling business and they decided to move forward with there plans. Mr. Samuels capital in the project was his knowledge of the distilling business and the investors put up the cash." it goes on to say ... eventually ... "Mr. Samuels didn't have the money to buy his investors out and eventually left the distillery and started Maker's Mark down in Lorreto."

While this is true in substance, it is not completely correct. While Mr. Samuels could not finance the whole re-build himself, he did contribute substantially to the effort ... as did others ... including the investment guys from Cincy. Best as I can put together, it was essentially a private stock sale. As time went along, Mr. Samuels bought back some of the outlying shares, but the folks from Cincy bought more ... finally, they were the clear majority owners ... I'm pretty sure that the historical business records show that Mr. Samuels became the VP or his own namesake company.

Eventually, he completely sold out his interest in the company ... along with all of the brands associated with it ...(I am also fairly certain that Old Jordan was among the family brands)... and apparently the use of his family name in the bourbon business, too.

I'm sure that this capital is what he used to finance the purchase of the Burks Spring Distillery in Loretto ... and to pay for operations until sales started paying himn back. (I think the purchase price of the Burks Spring property was around $35,000 give or take.)

Thanks Dave - I'm sure you are correct. I believe my original info came from both some old timers I had talked to in KY., and possibly some info I read in Sam Cecils book - I'll have to go back and check it. The one thing I'm pretty sure about is that he really didn't want to give up the family name when he (and his investors) sold the distillery to the company my Uncle was associated with. I was told the main reason for that was Mr. Samuels didn't have the funds (at the time) to buy out his investors from Cinci. I'm sure he and his investors did well. I visited Maker's Mark and was told by the tour guide that the Samuels family were sued shortly after they started the distillery in Loretto because of the name they were going to use - I believe they were originally going to call it the Old Samuels Distillery or something like that. There is an old picture in the visitors center with the family standing in front of the office with the sign hanging on the outside of the building. I'm assuming it was my uncle's company that sued them, so I may have a hard time getting any information out of the current family members, but I'm going to try. They had some nice pictures of the old distillery in Deatsville that I would like copies of - we'll see if that happens. Thanks for the info!! :grin:

Mark

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Bourbon Geek

Mark,

The oldest photos of the distillery after Mr. Samuels bought it, show the signage "Old Samuels Distillery". I have also seen a VERY old bottle of Maker's Mark that had a disclaimer on the label something to the order of ... we are not affiliated with the TW Samuels Distillery ... shortly thereafter, the signage came down. It all makes sense after reading your post.

The money end of the barrels for many years thereafter referred to it as the Star Hill Distillery ... this was only changed to Maker's Mark Distillery in the mid to late 1990's.

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boone

:grin: My Uncle Elmo Beam was the first Master Distiller at Star Hill. He was the second person hired by Bill Samuels Sr. His name (Uncle Elmo's) is not on that very first bottle produced because he passed at Star Hill two years later...

Below is a picture that I posted in these forums several years ago. This is the very first day they produced at Star Hill. Note the name at the top of the picture Old Samuels Distillery. Uncle Elmo--first row 1st man on the left :grin:

I posted a story about Bill Samuels Sr. written for the U of L Alumni Magazine by Kevin Rayburn--> http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showpost.php?p=18382&postcount=1

post-20-14489815545852_thumb.jpg

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chefmel

Dave,

Thanks for the additional information. I didn't really expect to get any additional information on the Old T.W. Samuels distillery at Maker's Mark - shows you what I know! The guy was very friendly and very interested in the history of bourbon in general. Still waiting to hear back from him - he's going to try and put me in touch with Mr. Samuels for further information and maybe copies of the old distillery that were hanging on the wall in the visitor's center.

Bettye Jo,

Thanks for joining our discussion! I was told in an earlier post that you may have information for me about my Great Uncle and his distillery. Any more information that you can provide would be greatly appreciated. I'm especially looking for a picture of Mr. Westerman - if you know of anyone that may have one, please let me know.

I will begin posting tomorrow on the items and information that I found while in Kentucky a couple of weeks ago. One thing that's always impressed me about Kentucky is how friendly everyone I've met there has been to me! I love it down there because of that! :grin:

Mark

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chefmel
:grin: My Uncle Elmo Beam was the first Master Distiller at Star Hill. He was the second person hired by Bill Samuels Sr. His name (Uncle Elmo's) is not on that very first bottle produced because he passed at Star Hill two years later...

Below is a picture that I posted in these forums several years ago. This is the very first day they produced at Star Hill. Note the name at the top of the picture Old Samuels Distillery. Uncle Elmo--first row 1st man on the left :grin:

I posted a story about Bill Samuels Sr. written for the U of L Alumni Magazine by Kevin Rayburn--> http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showpost.php?p=18382&postcount=1

Bettye Jo,

Great picture and nice story on your family and the Samuels family. Are you still at Heaven Hill??

Mark

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boone
Bettye Jo,

Great picture and nice story on your family and the Samuels family. Are you still at Heaven Hill??

Mark

Yes, 17 years total :grin:

Industrial Maintenance Technician/Journeyperson is the title I've held for the last 8 1/2 years :grin:

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