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Starting out on the Bourbon Trail

This is the post excerpt.

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I’m ready to head out on the Bourbon Trail. My wife and I have already completed the Bourbon Trail and Craft Bourbon Trail. This time we will go more in depth on these distilleries along with the countless other distilleries that are part of the Kentucky Distilleries Association (KDA). We will also visit sites that are associated with the history of bourbon in Kentucky. Stay tuned.

Murphy, Barber & Co. Distillery RD #401, 5 th District

The distillery was built in 1880 by Squire Murphy, A M Barber and Calvin Brown. He notes that Brown was a whiskey salesman, while Barber was a teacher from the east. Murphy was a local.

The property originally was the site of the Murphy Barber Distillery and sat adjacent to a rock quarry owned by the legendary bourbon distiller, Jim Beam. Beam purchased the defunct distillery in 1920, just as Prohibition was going into effect.

After Prohibition, Jim, his son Jeremiah, and his nephew Carl Beam renovated and rebuilt the plant in a mere 120 days, razing most of the old Murphy Barber buildings and constructing new ones.

On an early spring day in 1935, the Beams proudly hosted an open house for the local community; after a 17-year break, they were back in the bourbon business.

“My family had been making bourbon for more than 100 years before the distillery opened,” said Fred Noe. “Prior to the Clermont location, we had distilleries in Bardstown and before that, in Washington County. This one was the special one though because this is where we got back to work.”

Hoffman Distillery RD#406 District #8

The Hoffman Distillery was built on the banks of the Salt River in 1880 by S.O. Hackley. Soon after the distillery was built, he teamed up with Ike Hoffman and from there grew two well-known brands at the time; Old Hoffman and Old Spring. By 1912, Hoffman was the sole owner and went bankrupt. In 1916 the distillery was brought by L.&E. Werthheimer. The distillery was closed and torn down during prohibition. After repeal, the distillery was re-built and the new owners hired Robert and Ezra Ripy to run the distillery. Robert and Ezra were two of the sons of Thomas Ripy who was one of the most famous distillers in the late 1800’s. Thomas’s other two sons founded the Ripy distillery that would eventually become Wild Turkey as we know it today.

During the subsequent years at the Hoffman Distillery, Robert and Ezra, along with the Wertheimers and Frank Silverman created a new brand of bourbon; Ezra Brooks. Rumor has it that the team liked the Ezra portion of the name but didn’t want the Ripy name on the label so they created Ezra Brooks. By this time, the distillery was producing Ezra Brooks, Old Hoffman, and Old Spring at the rate of 300 bushels per day. With the rise of the Ezra Brooks brand, the distillery was renamed in 1968 to the Ezra Brooks Distillery.

Along the journey and rise of Ezra Brooks as a popular brand of bourbon, there was a large bump in the road. That bump was named Jack Daniels. In 1960, Jack Daniels brings a lawsuit against Hoffman Distilling Company for trademark infringement for the packaging and advertising methods that, in their terms, mimicked Jack Daniels Black label. Ultimately, the court decided that there was no evidence of trademark infringement by Hoffman and that both brands have such a clearly defined and different labeling that there is no likelihood of confusion by the consumer and therefore the consumer could not be deceived. Considering the size and stature of the two companies, this had to be considered one of the great underdog legal wins in the history of whiskey and sprits lawsuits.

Like much of the entirety of the bourbon industry, the 70’s and 80’s presented hard times for most. It was during this time frame that the Ezra Brooks distillery was purchased by Medley, who was then acquired by Glenmore. The Ezra Brooks brand was eventually sold around and ended up with Luxco, although it has never regained the type of recognition and popularity as it had in the mid 1900’s.

In 1979, the Hoffman Distillery was shut down and with the shutdown was the end of the Hoffman Bourbon brand. The distillery sat for four years until a gentleman by the name of Julian Van Winkle III purchased the distillery and transformed it into a bottling facility for his Old Rip Van Winkle product. In 1981, the Van Winkle family cut ties with Stitzel-Weller and needed a place to bottle their aging whiskey. From 1983 until 2002 the Van Winkle’s bottled their famous product out of this old Hoffman Distillery. In 2002, the Van Winkle’s went into a partnership with Buffalo Trace and the Hoffman Distillery was left abandoned.

T.W. Samuel’s Distillery

The Samuels Distillery, RD#145, 5 th District, Nelson County, KY (1844-1920)

1844: Taylor William Samuels turned his father’s farm distillery into a commercial operation known as T. W. Samuels & Son. The son’s name was W I Samuels.

1892: Insurance underwriter records note that the distillery was of frame construction with a metal or slate roof. The property included two bonded warehouses, both iron-clad with metal or slate roofs:
Warehouse B — located 220 ft north of the still.
Warehouse D — located 220 ft north of the still and 46 ft from Warehouse B.
There was also an old Free warehouse, of frame construction, and there was a detached railroad depot. The insurance records show the distillery was being run as T W Samuels.

1898: T W Samuels and W I Samuels both died, leaving the distillery in the hands of W I Samuels’ son, Leslie B Samuels.

1909: The distillery and six warehouses were destroyed by fire with a loss of $100,000, including 9,000 barrels of whiskey. Their brands were “T. W. Samuels” and “Old Deatsville”.

1913: The Star Distillery Co. of Cincinnati purchased control of the company, buying out the Samuels’ family interest. Leslie retained his share of the company and remained as manager until the plant closed in 1920.

1920-1933: During prohibition most of the buildings were razed for salvage.

1933: The company was reorganized as the T W Samuels Distillery Co. with Robert Block, president, T. W. Samuels, VP, and Leslie B. Samuels, manager. A new plant was built with 600 bu capacity and 19,000 bbl warehouse capacity.

1936: Leslie died and his son, T. W. Samuels (Bill, Sr.) assumed the position of manager until 1943 when he disassociated himself from the firm.

1953: Bill Samuels re-entered the distilling business with the purchase of the former Burks Spring plant near Loretto on Star Hill Farm. He restored this plant to operation as Makers Mark. (History is from the Coyte Papers, cited in OASG)

Hermitage Distillery

3rd & the Kentucky River

The Hermitage Distillery was organized in 1862 by Gaines, Berry & Co. The distillery was actually built in 1868, on the Kentucky River south of Frankfort. One assumes that the name “Hermitage” was a reference to President Andrew Jackson’s home of that name in Nashville, Tennessee.

The company was reorganized and incorporated in 1868 as W. A. Gaines & Co.
Although the name of W. A. Gaines was most prominent, Hiram Berry was the principal owner and president of the original firm, and in the background was E. H. Taylor Jr., who financed and ran many central Kentucky distilleries in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The 1868 reorganization was primarily a way to increase capitalization (always a challenge in the whiskey business) and brought in Sherman Paris, Marshall J. Allen and Frank S. Stevens, of New York. Paris became president and the company’s main offices were there. Berry continued to be the main “man on the ground” in Frankfort, running the distillery part of the business.

Taylor withdrew in 1870, Gaines died in 1872 and Paris retired in 1882. He was succeeded in New York by Marshall J. Allen. Berry continued as vice-president and his son, George, became corporate secretary and his father’s understudy in running the local operation.

By 1887, W. A. Gaines was the largest American whiskey company.

The Hermitage Distillery itself was converted into a chair factory during prohibition. There was talk about reviving it after repeal, but nothing came of it and the facility was razed in 1945.

Gaines, Berry & Co. (1868), W A Gaines & Co. (1884-1919)

Main, SW cor Ann (1868), office: 313-315 Main (1884-1908), 231 W Main (1910-1919)

W A GAINES & CO.
Frankfort, KY.
1868-1919

This is Berry Hill Mansion, in Frankfort, Kentucky. It was built by George Berry, who made his fortune as vice president of W. A. Gaines & Co., makers of Old Crow Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.
Old Crow Bourbon was first made by Dr. James C. Crow when he was master distiller at what is now Woodford Reserve. His whiskey was so famous that when he died suddenly in 1856, it seemed like a good idea to keep selling it anyway. A company was formed for that purpose, which after a couple of iterations became known as W. A. Gaines & Co. Hiram Berry, George’s father, was one of the original investors.
The money was in New York, so was the company’s president; but the distillery was just outside of Frankfort and Berry was the senior executive on the scene. He wasn’t a distiller. We don’t know for sure but he was probably more like the general manager. He was also a major shareholder. It made him a very rich man. He built the mansion he called Juniper Hill in 1900. In about 1910 he added a music room, the home’s most spectacular feature.

Today, Berry Hill Mansion is owned by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. It is meticulously maintained and beautiful, inside and out. It is open to the public and also used for conferences, weddings, and other events. W. A. Gaines & Co. ceased to exist as anything other than a name at Prohibition. Today, Old Crow is made by Beam Global Spirits & Wine.

Colonel E. H. Taylor Jr

E. H. Taylor, Jr. got his start with the distilling firms of Gaines, Berry, & Co. and W. A. Gaines & Co. In 1866, Taylor made a grand observation of European distilleries; in 1868, while employed by the latter, Taylor oversaw construction of two Frankfort distilleries, Old Crow and the Hermitage (now lost to urban sprawl in Frankfort), before finally purchasing the Lee’s Town Distillery from the Swigert family around 1870.

Commonwealth Distillery RD #12

Stoll, Clay & Company (1880-1885)

Commonwealth Distilling Company (1885-1899)

Kentucky Distilleries and Warehouse Company (1899-1915)
In 1880, Stoll, Clay & Company converted the old cotton mill[1] in Sandersville into a whiskey distillery. The plant was located three miles northwest of Lexington. The firm was composed of James S. Stoll, Richard P. Stoll and Henry C. Clay.

In 1881, Richard P. Stoll and Robert B. Hamilton (which see) established Stoll, Hamilton & Company to wholesale whiskey produced at the distillery. The distillery produced their proprietary brands Owl Club Whiskey and Elkhorn Whiskey as a “tenant leasee.”[2] This firm also traded in bulk whiskies.

In August 1885, the relationship between the Stoll brothers and Clay deteriorated and the partnership was dissolved. At a public auction on August 11 the assets of the partnership were sold.

James S. Stoll

1855- 1908

Distiller and Banker

James S. Stoll was born in Lexington in 1855, the third son of George J. Stoll, Sr. In 1881 he invested, along with his brother, in Stoll, Clay & Company. In 1891, Stoll and Sanford K. Vannatta established a partnership, known as Stoll, Vannatta & Company, to wholesale whiskey. At the time of his death in 1908, he was President of the Stoll & Company (distillers) and Vice President of Stoll, Hamilton & Company (whiskey brokers).

He was also a real estate investor. He was the owner of the “Meadows,” a two hundred seventy three acre farm on the Bryan Station Pike outside the city limits. Stoll was one of the largest stockholders in the Lexington City National Bank, serving as a director (from 1890s to 1908) and as President (1903 – 1908). He died in Lexington during 1908.

Richard P. Stoll

1851 – 1903

Distiller and Attorney

Richard P. Stoll was born in Lexington on January 21, 1851, the second son of George J. Stoll, Sr. He attended Kentucky University, graduating in 1868. In 1875, Stoll was elected to the Kentucky Legislature (serving one term). In 1877, he became the Deputy Director of the Internal Revenue Bureau in Lexington and the next year Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Bureau for Kentucky. He oversaw the collection of the Federal excise taxes.

In 1881, he formed the Stoll, Clay & Company, that rebuilt the old cotton mill at Sandersville into a distillery. Also in 1881, Stoll and Robert B. Hamilton established a partnership to wholesale whiskey. This firms would later become Stoll & Company. This interest would later pass to his sons. The firm was disposed of by Prohibition.

In the 1890s, he was a director of the Kentucky Distillers Association. In 1883 Stoll became the President of the Lexington City National Bank, serving until his death in 1903. He was prominent in Republican politics, being nominated in 1900 for the U. S. Congress.

He died in March 1903. At the time of his death, he was President of the Lexington City National Bank, Kentucky Trotting Horse Breeders Association (the Red Mile), Lexington Gas Company, Stoll, Hamilton & Company and Stoll & Company. He was the Treasurer of the Lexington Street Railway Company. He was also a director of the Security Trust Company, Eastern State Lunatic Asylum, Lexington & Eastern Railway, Belt Electric Line Company, Central Electric Company, Lexington Brick Company, Hercules Ice Company and the Passenger & Belt Railway Company. He was stated to be the wealthiest individual in Lexington at the time of his death.

Henry C. Clay

1839 –

Distiller

Henry C. Clay, known as H. C. Clay, was born in 1839, a nephew of the Henry Clay (Kentucky Senator and Statesman). He was also related the Grimes family of Grimes Mill (and later married one of the Grimes’ cousins). In 1880, he became one of the principals in the distilling partnership of Stoll, Clay & Company (that built the Commonwealth Distillery). During 1885, the partnership was dissolved because of his financial problems. He also secured a note to C. W. Foushee, whiskey broker, with the gristmill on Boone Creek, at Grimes Mill Road. The mill was later sold to cover the debt.[i] He continued in the distilling business owning the Grimes Distillery.

Commonwealth Distilling Company:

In January 1883, the Commonwealth Distillery Company was formed with Richard P. Stoll (President) and Isaac Strauss (Vice President). In addition, Charles H. Stoll, James S. Stoll, Solomon Pritz and Benjamin Pritz were also appointed directors. Richard P. Stoll was the primary stockholder. The firm was capitalized at $100,000.[v] In 1885, the firm assumed the operations of Stoll, Clay & Company. This firm produced Commonwealth hand made copper whiskey.

Charles H. Stoll

1858 – 1948

Attorney

Charles H. Stoll was born in Lexington in 1858, the fourth son of George H. Stoll, Sr. He graduated from Transylvania College and in 1886 entered the practice of law. Stoll was one of the founders of the Electric Street Railway Company, George Stoll & Sons (with his father – traded in bonded whiskey). In 1886, he became associated with the Kentucky Union Railroad and negotiated its sale to the Carley interests. After the sale, he became its principal attorney and oversaw the extension into Eastern Kentucky. In 1888, he became one of the organizers of the Belt Line Companies, which organized the electric streetcar lines in Lexington. As their attorney, he was one of the “Generals” in the Railroad War with his former client, the Kentucky Union Railroad Company.

In 1880, Stoll was one of the organizers of the Kentucky Distillers Association in Louisville, Kentucky. In the late 1890s, he was a principal organizer of the Kentucky Distilleries and Warehouse Company (the Whiskey Trust). He continued as legal counsel for the Whiskey Trust until 1907.

Stoll developed the Hampton Court subdivision in Lexington. He served as a director of the Lexington City National Bank from the late 1880s until the late 1890s.

At the turn of the century, he relocated to New York City to represent the Whiskey Trust. He returned to Lexington in 1904 and became the President of the Lexington Hydraulic and Manufacturing Company (the forerunner of the Lexington Water Works). He was reelected to the board of the Lexington City National Bank. In 1907, he moved to Mississippi and later to Bristol, Tennessee, where he died in 1948.

In December 1899, the Commonwealth Distillery was deeded to the Kentucky Distilleries and Warehouse Company.[vi] Production was shifted to other plants of the Whiskey Trust and the distillery at Sandersville was demolished in 1905. The warehouses were used for storage until 1908 as the Lexington Public Warehouse (bonded storage). In 1915, Hillenmeyer & Sons purchased the property for a nursery. The Hillenmeyer’s farm was adjacent to the plant, and for years their cattle were fed the spent grains. The original brick warehouse remains today and is used for storage.

Warehouse at Hillenmeyer Nursery

Ashland Distillery RD#1

Turner, Clay & Company (1865 – 1871)
Wm. Tarr & Company (1871 – 1899)
Kentucky Distillers & Warehouse Company
(1899 – 1902, 1908 – 1923)
Stoll & Company (1902 – 1908

The facility was located on Manchester Street (Frankfort Pike) between Cox and Perry and was the first to obtain a Federal Register distillery license (RD #1, 7th District) in Lexington.

Turner, Clay & Co.
In 1865, Turner, Clay & Company established the Ashland Distillery on Manchester Street (Old Frankfort Pike at Cox Street, at the city limits). This distillery was the first to obtain a federal register distillery license in Lexington and was assigned RD #1. The firm was composed of Horace H. Turner, Samuel M. Clay and Thomas D. Mitchell. Turner, Clay and Mitchell were prominent merchants in Lexington. The property was purchased on November 12, 1866, for $10,000.

Sam Clay Jr.

Around 1875, Sam Clay, Jr. established a whiskey brokerage in Lexington, with offices located at 11 West Water Street. Clay was from Paris, Bourbon County, and associated with Thomas J. Megibben. In 1879, he became a partner in the Wm. Tarr & Company, which operated the Ashland Distillery. He marketed the firm’s Ashland and Wm. Tarr whiskies.

Bill of Exchange to Sam Clay, Jr. for whiskey

In 1880, he purchased the Paris Distillery in Paris, Kentucky, and produced a sour mash whiskey called Sam Clay Bourbon. In 1882, the plant produced forty barrels per day and had more than fifteen thousand barrels in bonded storage. Megibben operated the distillery from 1884 to 1890. In 1901, Clay sold the distillery to the Whiskey Trust.

Around 1884, Clay left the Old Tarr partnership over the disputed sale of the Kentucky Union Railroad. The firm of J. A. Lail & Company assumed the distribution for the Ashland Distillery.

Wm. Tarr & Company
In November 1871, William Tarr Wm. Tarr & Company:of Bourbon County and Thomas J. Megibben of Harrison County acquired the distillery and restarted whiskey production. Tarr was a prominent land speculator and Megibben was a successful dry goods merchant. Both were also distillers, entering the business before the Civil War. They continued to produce Ashland and introduced Wm. Tarr (later known as Old Tarr) whiskey. Both brands were distilled in a rye and bourbon versions.

William Tarr House

Willliam Tarr House today

William Tarr gravesite

Land Speculator and Distiller

William Tarr was born on June 22, 1825, in Paris, Kentucky. His first business venture was cultivation of a watermelon patch on the family farm. With these funds, he became a mule trader and farmer. Before the Civil War, he entered the distilling business and in 1871 established Wm. Tarr & Company – which acquired the Ashland Distillery in Lexington, Kentucky. He produced the Ashland and Wm. Tarr brands of whiskey. During his distilling career, he produced more than sixty thousand barrels of whiskey and paid over $3,000,000 in excise taxes to the Federal government.

In 1873, Tarr became one of the principals of Kentucky Union Railroad and related companies. He personally guaranteed the bonds in 1883 to start construction of the rail line. Financial problems forced him to sell the railroad in 1886 at a large loss. During the depression of the 1890s, he suffered financial reversals connected to the endorsements of notes for family and friends. In 1897, he was forced to assign the distillery and his assets over to receivers. This receivership lasted until 1911.

In 1898, he retired to his farm. His owned large tracts of farmland in Bourbon County, Kentucky, and in Eastern Kentucky. His farm was known as Park Place, five miles from Paris on the Maysville Pike. He maintained a large park for deer on this farm open to the public. The Kentucky Union Railroad built its right-of-way through his property in the mountains.

Tom Megibben

Tom Megibben Gravesite

Distiller and Turfman.

Thomas J. Megibben was born in Clermont County, Neville, Ohio, and at an early age relocated to Cynthiana, Harrison County, Kentucky. He was the largest landowner in the county, with twenty eight hundred acres of land. He built “Monticello,” a mansion overlooking the Licking River in Cynthiana, with three floors and twenty-seven rooms. He raised shorthorn cattle and thoroughbred horses on his farms. He horses competed twice in the Kentucky Derby (1882 with Newsbury and 1884 with Audrain – third place). Megibben founded the Latonia Race Track and Jockey Club and was president of the Shorthorn Cattle Breeders Association of Chicago. He was also the President of the Kentucky Trotting Horse Breeders Association from 1873 to 1882.

Around 1850 he established the Megibben & Bramble Distillery on the Licking River at Lair, Harrison County, Kentucky and produced Excelsior. He sold the distillery in 1868 to his nephew. In 1857, he purchased the Edgewater Distillery, also near Lair, and established a large cattle farm. By 1882, he increased capacity to 50 barrels per day. Their brands were Edgewater Bourbon and Edgewater Rye.

1890

In 1879, he became a partner in the Ashland Distillery, with William Tarr, in Lexington. In 1880, he also purchased the Van Hook Distillery in Harrison County and sold it in 1888 to one of his sons-in-law. In 1880, he became a millionaire overnight when excise taxes were raised and he had several warehouses full of whiskey on which a lower tax had already been paid. Megibben was elected the first President of the Kentucky Distillers Association, when it was organized in 1880 at Louisville, Kentucky He continued to be active in the organization until his death. In 1884, he assumed the operations of the Paris Distillery. After his death in 1890, he had interest in six distilleries.

In 1873, he became one of the principal partners in the Kentucky Union Railroad and related companies. He personally guaranteed the bonds in 1883 to start construction of the rail line. Financial problems forced him to sell the railroad in 1886 at a large loss.

Kentucky Distilleries and Warenhouse Company
On February 20, 1899, the distillery was auctioned at a Master Commissioner’s sale to Leonard G. Cox, of Graves, Cox & Co., for $60,001. He was bidding against G. G. White, distiller of Paris, Lewis LeBus, of Cincinnati, and Squire Bassett, of the Fayette National Bank of Lexington. These three were the larger creditors of the company. Cox turned out to be a straw bidder for Charles H. Stoll (which see) and the Kentucky Distilleries and Warehouse Company (the Whiskey Trust).

The Whiskey Trust

Whiskey Trust:

During the late 1880s, several attempts were made to “rationalize” the distilling industry by creating a trust or monopoly. In 1888, the Distillers’ and Cattle Feeders’ Trust was created in Peoria, Illinois, to consolidate the distilleries in the region. This attempt quickly failed due to the inability to control production of non-members. Around 1896 Julius Kessler organized the Kentucky Distilleries and Warehouse Company as a holding company for the Kentucky distilleries. In 1899, the Distilling Company of America[11] consolidated the Kentucky Distilleries and Warehouse Company with the American Spirits Manufacturing Company and the Standard Distilling and Distributing Company. Across Kentucky, these firms controlled a number of subsidiary and affiliated distillers and whiskey brokers.

In January 1898, the Whiskey Trust[12] invited the distillers in Lexington – Jas. E. Pepper & Company and Stoll, Vannatta & Company – to join the combined trust. These two companies controlled all the operating distilleries in Lexington at the time. This offer involved the trade of stock in the trust for the distiller. Charles H. Stoll, a Lexington attorney and member of the prominent distilling family, directed this campaign and was the prime mover in Kentucky for the trust. His brother, James S. Stoll, was an advisory director of the trust.

Eventually the Stolls operated in concert with the trust, but the Pepper distillery stayed independent. In 1908, the Stoll distilleries were finally consolidated with other trust distilleries located outside of Fayette County.

It was quoted that the “object of the pool is to take care of the whiskey that, either thorough failures or collateral, passed into the hands of banks. The banks have placed these small lots on the market at low prices. The pool intends to purchase these small lots to protect the market price.”[xii]

By the early 1900s, the Kentucky Distilleries and Warehouse Company controlled over ninety (90%) percent of the whiskey production in Kentucky, with the capacity of sixteen million barrels annually. The trust was capitalized at thirty two million dollars and had one million barrels in bonded storage. The trust shut down the smaller facilities and concentrated production at the larger, more efficient distilleries. The trust was never a monopoly, but by sheer size forced the outside whiskey houses to act in accord with its wishes.

Stoll & Company:

After the sale of the Stoll family’s Commonwealth Distillery (which see) in 1899, James S. Stoll operated his whiskey brokerage business as Stoll & Company (as successor to Stoll, Vannatta & Company). Old Elk was the company’s proprietary brand of whiskey. He also controlled the market in Old Tarr and Bond & Lillard whiskies, owning large numbers of warehouse receipts for these two brands. This whiskey was stored in the bonded warehouses at Ashland Distillery, owned by the Whiskey Trust.

In December 1902, Stoll & Company Inc. was incorporated, with capitalization of $600,000 in common stock. James S. Stoll was President; George J. Stoll III (his son) was Vice President and Samuel C. Stofer was Secretary/Treasurer. Stofer was the firm’s office manager. The same month, Stoll purchased both the Ashland Distillery and the Bond & Lillard Distillery from the Whiskey Trust. The company now controlled the Bond & Lillard, Old Tarr, Ashland and Old Elk brands.

In 1904, Stoll & Company’s Bond & Lillard won a gold medal at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition and World’s Fair in St. Louis.

In March 1905, the company purchased the Belle of Nelson and E. L. Miles & Co. Distilleries in Nelson County, Kentucky. The purchase price was $486,655.32 for both. They also obtained twenty five thousand barrels of bonded whiskey with the deal. With these two additional distilleries, Stoll & Company became the largest distilling concern in Kentucky – with four operating distilleries. They also picked up two additional brands – Belle of Nelson and E. L. Miles – for a total of six brands of whiskies.

On July 1, 1907, the Stoll family consolidated their wholesaling whiskey businesses – Stoll & Company and Stoll, Hamilton & Company (which see) into Stoll & Company Inc. James S. Stoll was President, John G. Stoll and George J. Stoll were Vice Presidents and Samuel C. Stofer was Secretary and Treasurer of the new concern. John G. Stoll was the son of Richard P. Stoll (who died in 1903).

The new firm distilled and marketed seven brands; which were Ashland, Old Tarr, Old Elk , Bond & Lillard, Belle of Nelson, E. L. Miles & Co. and New Hope. They engaged sales representatives to cover the entire United States. Their main office and warehouse were retained in Lexington, while the firm had six other warehouses around the state. They employed more than one hundred workers.

In 1908, after the death of James S. Stoll, the Stoll distilling interests were consolidated into the Kentucky Distilleries and Warehouse Company (the Whiskey Trust). The Ashland distillery plant was dismantled.

James S. Stoll

1855- 1908

Distiller and Banker

James S. Stoll was born in Lexington in 1855, the third son of George J. Stoll, Sr. In 1881 he invested, along with his brother, in Stoll, Clay & Company. In 1891, Stoll and Sanford K. Vannatta established a partnership, known as Stoll, Vannatta & Company, to wholesale whiskey. At the time of his death in 1908, he was President of the Stoll & Company (distillers) and Vice President of Stoll, Hamilton & Company (whiskey brokers).

He was also a real estate investor. He was the owner of the “Meadows,” a two hundred seventy three acre farm on the Bryan Station Pike outside the city limits. Stoll was one of the largest stockholders in the Lexington City National Bank, serving as a director (from 1890s to 1908) and as President (1903 – 1908). He died in Lexington during 1908.

Former Warehouse (Manchester Music Hall)