Old Overholt 1921 Bottled in Bond Pint / Prohibition Era Bottling
Old Overholt is one of America's oldest whiskey brands, tracing its roots back to 1810 when Abraham Overholt took over distilling operations at his family's farm in West Overton. A family business until the early 20th century, it was reorganised as A. Overholt & Co by Abraham's sons, Jacob and Henry, although it was not until 1888 that the Old Overholt brand was first introduced. Despite its historical links to West Overton, which is still a museum today , most Overholt whiskey was produced at the larger, more modern Broad Ford facility, built in 1859. Both were run in tandem until shut down by Prohibition. Fortunately, Broad Ford was able to survive America's decade of temperance. When Abraham's grandson, Henry Clay Frick died in 1919, he left the ownership of the company to Andrew Mellon, who would later become president Warren G. Harding's Secretary of the Treasury, a position which allowed him to grant Broad Ford a license to bottle "medicinal" whiskey. Considered a political liability, Mellon was under pressure to offload the company however, and he sold it first to New York grocers, Park & Tilford in 1925, who in turn sold it on to National Distillers in 1932. National Distillers were consolidating interests in as much of the industry as possible with the repeal of Prohibition expected the following year, most notable was their acquisition of the Wathen family's American Medicinal Spirits Co. National Distillers produced Old Overholt until 1987, bottling it with whiskey from Broad Ford and the neighbouring Large distillery until the 1950s, and at an unknown Pennsylvania plant in the intervening years until its acquisition by Jim Beam. Today they continue to make it at their distilleries in Kentucky.
This bottle was distilled in 1921 at Large distillery in Pennsylvania. The Rye whisky was then bonded at the distillery, where it was stored and, thankfully, protected from the Prohibition Act of 1920 which banned all production and consumption of the alcohol in the US for the next 13 years.
The Large distillery was best known for its Monongahela Rye, a national brand in the US until it was removed from the shelves, along with may others by the prohibition act of 1920. Large distillery was one of just three in the US that were premitted to continue distilling medicinal whiskey after Prohibition was enacted, which is why this has a 1921 vintage. Sadly, doing so was not financially viable and none of them did so for longer than three years. Permits were later reissued to different distillers in 1930.
This was bottled in 1932 and was one of the earliest examples of the National Distillers version of the brand. It was produced using the American Medicinal Spirits Co's license. National Distillers were essentially the reincarntion of the infamous Whiskey Trust, who had invested heavily in the AMS Co with view to capitalising on its assetts after repeal.
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