Old Commonwealth 7 Year Old Volunteer Firefighter Decanter 1978 / Stitzel-Weller
When the Van Winkle family sold the Stitzel-Weller distillery in 1972, the new ownership offered Julian II an office and first-refusal on casks with which to pursue his new bottling venture. He named it the Commonwealth Distillery Co, and focussed on bottling Stitzel-Weller casks in porcelain commemorative decanters. When he died, his son Julian III moved the operation to the old Hoffman distillery, renaming it Old Commonwealth in the process. Although the family are best known for the Old Rip Van Winkle label, these Old Commonwealth decanters are rare and important pieces in one bourbon's greatest stories.
Bottled in 1978, this Volunteer Firefighter decanter contains a 7 year old Stitzel-Weller bourbon that would have been distilled by Julian II in his penultimate year as proprietor.
The Stitzel-Weller company was officially established in 1933 at the repeal of National Prohibition in the US. It was the result of a merger between the A. Ph. Stitzel distillery and its biggest customer, W.L. Weller & Sons. The Stitzel-Weller distillery opened on Kentucky Derby day in 1935, and quickly developed a reputation for its high quality wheated bourbon, and its main brands were Old Weller, Old Fitzgerald and Cabin Still. The original ownership was shared between Alex T. Farnsley, Arthur Philip Stitzel and Julian Van Winkle. The former passed-away in 1941 and 1947, respectively, leaving the Van Winkle family as the sole heirs to the business. 'Pappy' died in 1965, having handed the reigns to his son, Julian II the year prior, who ran it until 1972 when the board of directors forced him to sell it to the Norton-Simon subsidiary, Somerset Imports. When they were bought over by the American arm of Scottish distillers, DCL, its subsequent iteration invested heavily in bourbon. So much so in fact, that their newly rebuilt Bernheim distillery had such capacity that Stitzel-Weller was rendered surplus to requirements. It was shut down in 1992. Still part of the Diageo portfolio, it has never re-opened and instead now houses the visitor experience for their Bulleit brand.
We would recommend viewing/close inspection prior to placing any bids. If this is not an option and you have questions beyond the offered description and images, please contact us for a more in-depth condition report. Otherwise lots will be sold as seen in the images.
Please note: Due to the various ages of bottles and their seals, condition of liquid is at the buyer's discretion and no claim can be lodged against failure/leakage in transit.