Booth’s Distillery, London England, High & Dry Gin

According to “Difford’s Guide,” the relationship between the Booth family and gin can be traced back to the establishment of their London distillery in 1740.

The Booth family, who moved to London from north-east England, were established wine merchants as early as 1569. By 1740 they had added distilling to their already established brewing and wine interests and built a distillery at 55 Cowcross Street, Clerkenwell, London…

During the 19th century Sir Felix Booth set up another distillery at Brentford and grew the business into the largest distilling company in England…

After the death of the last male Booth family member in 1826, the firm became an independent limited company. In 1937, Booth’s joined the Distiller’s Company Ltd, the interests of which would evolve into part of the conglomerate we know today as Diageo.

Booth’s gin is not currently listed as a brand on Diageo’s web site, apparently having gone out of production just recently.

It’s not clear when Booth’s gin first began appearing in the United States. The earliest U. S. newspaper reference for Booth’s gin that I could find is in a December 4, 1871 story in the Buffalo Daily Courier highlighting a local business called P.J. Hanour’s. It mentioned that “Holland” gin and Booth’s “Old Tom” gin were both available by the case at Hanour’s. Based on this story, its safe to say that Booth’s “Old Tom” gin was certainly available in the U.S. by the early 1870’s.

The December, 1887 edition of Bonfort’s Wine and Spirit Circular listed the firm of Purdy & Nicholas as the U.S. agent for Booth & Co.’s “Old Tom” gin.

An import company, the business was a partnership of John F. Purdy and George Stevenson Nicholas. According to Purdy’s obituary the company was established in 1857, so while it’s not clear when their relationship with Booth’s began, it’s possible that Booth’s U. S. presence dates back that far.

Always located at 42 Beaver Street in lower Manhattan, Purdy & Nicholas was listed in the New York City directories from 1862 up until 1888. According to an item in the September 12, 1894 issue of the New York Times, the partnership was dissolved on September 1, 1888. Subsequently, Nicholas continued to run the business, first as a sole proprietor, then, sometime around 1908, as G. S. Nicholas & Co. and finally in 1919 as G.S. Nicholas & Son. Throughout this time the business remained listed at the Beaver Street address.

By the early 1900’s, in addition to “Old Tom” their Booth & Co. imports also included Booth’s “Dry” gin. A 1902 advertisement in Life Magazine named G. S. Nicholas as the sole agent for Booth’s Dry Gin.

And the brand was included in the company listing under gin, printed in the January 1, 1903 edition of the Wine & Spirit Bulletin.

By 1908 the brand name “High and Dry” gin began to appear in the U. S. as a Booth & Co. product. That year, the June 17 edition of “Printers Ink” announced that the firm of H.B. Humphrey  had been hired to place advertisements for the brand.

A year later G. S. Nicholas & Co. included the Booth’s “High and Dry” brand along with Booth’s “Old Tom”in an advertisement published in the June 22, 1909 edition of the New York Times.

In 1919, the NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directory named G. S. Nicholas & Son as the agent for Booth Distillery, Ltd., confirming that their relationship remained intact right up to the start of National Prohibition.

Booth’s High & Dry gin continued to be available in the U. S. during Prohibition albeit illegally. One story in the (Wilmington Delaware) Evening Journal described a shipment that originated in Canada.

Eighteen days ago a fourteen ton, two-masted schooner cleared from the little port of St Pierre Miquelon, a French possession near Newfoundland, with a crew of seven and assorted choice liquors valued at upwards of $200,000 aboard.

Search of the schooner was made during the night. Bottles, cases and kegs of liquor were found in two hatches covered with bags of coal.

The small schooner is (now) berthed at a Delaware River pier in Philadelphia, heavily guarded. The cargo of liquor lies in concrete vaults of the U. S. Customs Department.

A list of the illegal cargo was provided in the story and it included “28 gallons of Booth’s High and Dry gin” and “62 cases of Booth’s High and Dry gin.”

Apparently Booth’s “High & Dry,” in addition to being smuggled in, was also being counterfeited in this country. A story in the April 7, 1928 edition of the Decatur (Illinois) Herald referred to one illegal operation as the “Decatur Branch” of the Booth Distillery, complete with a still, bottles and labels.

Police Friday raided the “local branch” of a London, England, distillery: makers of Booth’s “High and Dry” Gin, and other fine imported liquors. A new 50-gallon still was confiscated.

Swooping down on the cottage in 2129 North Church Street, they found John Alexander and his wife Sadie, in charge of the premises with 80 gallons of raw alcohol ready to be converted into choice imported liquors.

Bottles, labels, corks and seals were ready. Recipes for mixing a widely assorted list of liquors were found.

Booth’s London distillery, as described by the labels for use on the “imported” dry gin, made in Decatur, was established in 1740. The British lion appears on the label as a trade mark. The label is a work of art, printed in four colors.

Another label found is intended to give the information that the liquor manufactured in Decatur’s branch of Booth’s English distillery is imported by the “Henry Hollander Co., Inc.” under a special permit. Caution is given that it has been permitted in this country for medicinal purposes only and that “sale for use for other purposes will cause heavy penalties to be inflicted.”

The still was in the basement. It gave appearance of being recently installed. Under order of Chief Ed Wills, it was wrecked.

After Prohibition ended, Booth’s “High & Dry” gin began to be produced in the U.S. by Park & Tillford Distiller’s of New York City. The “High & Dry” label from the 1930’s included the following:

product of U.S.A. distilled and bottled by Park & Tillford Distillers, Inc. at New York, N.Y., under the supervision of Booth Distillers, Ld, London.

Other 1930’s advertisements explained that reducing the price by eliminating the import tax was the reasoning behind the change.

This is the same gin when imported retails $3.50 to $4.00 per fifth bottle. But it is now being distilled by the Park and Tillford distillers in New York City by the Booth’s distillers of London, England, same formula, same gin, but eliminating import tax, thereby bringing the price down compared to ordinary gin.

This advertisement from 1935 bore this out, listing the price of a fifth at $1.45.

By the mid-1950’s, Booth’s “High & Dry” gin was being produced in Linden New Jersey by the Distillers Co., Ltd.; W. A. Taylor & Co., was named as their sole distributor in the U.S and the bottle design had completely changed but this 1959 advertisement showed that their marketing strategy had remained pretty consistent.

They still stressed their English heritage.

It is good to know that when you buy Booth’s “High & Dry” Gin in the United States you are getting gin made according to the same formula as the Booth’s “High & Dry” purveyed in Britain. It is the only gin distilled in U.S.A. under the supervision of famous Booth Distilleries, Ltd., in London, England. Give Booth’s a try.

And price was still a major factor.

The bottle I found is square-shaped, machine made and includes “High & Dry Gin,” the British lion trademark, “Booth’s Distillery London England” all embossed on one face. It doesn’t include the typical post-prohibition embossed phrase (federal law forbids the sale or reuse of this bottle).

As a result the bottle was most likely manufactured after 1908 when the brand “High & Dry” began to appear in the U.S and before the end of National Prohibition.

This is further supported by the embossing: “B & CO.LD.,” found on the base of the bottle.

Originally I thought that this stood for Booth & Co., however, I now think it represents “Bagley & Co., Ltd.,” an English glass house, that was in business from 1898 to 1962. According to the U.S. Society of Historical Architecture they were one of the first users of automated bottle machinery in England and probably had the capability of making machine-made narrow-mouthed bottles as early as 1907. The company manufactured bottles from 1898 to the late 1920’s or early 1930’s after which they ceased bottle production and focused on tableware.

The range of production between 1908 and the early 1930’s means that the bottle could have been legally imported by G.S. Nicholas or it could have entered the country illegally during Prohibition.

Peter Dawson Ltd., Distillers

Peter Dawson was third generation of a family of Scottish distillers that began with his grandfather sometime in the first decade of the 1800’s. According to Whisky.Com, he established Peter Dawson Ltd., in Glasgow in 1892. A distilling and blending company, between 1893 and 1924 they were associated at various times with a number of Scottish distilleries including Convolmore, Towiemore and Balmenach.

According to the 1920 edition of “Harper’s Manual – The Standard Work of Reference for the Wine & Spirit Trade,” the business incorporated in 1911 with Peter Dawson and W. Campbell named as Managing Director and Secretary respectively. The Harper’s listing also mentioned three brands: “Dawson’s Extra Special,” “Dawson’s Old Curio,” and “Dawson’s Special.”

By 1925 they had been purchased and were operating as a subsidiary to the “Distillers Company, Ltd.” Guinness acquired the Distillers Co. in 1986, and they merged with Grand Metropolitan in 1997 to form Diageo. Today, Diageo’s web site does not list Peter Dawson as one of their scotch brands.

It appears that the Peter Dawson brands began appearing in the United States sometime in the early 1900’s. On June 16, 1903 they registered their label with the United States Patent Office (10,105) and their newspaper advertisements began appearing in 1909. The first one I could find was in the January 14, 1909 edition of the Chicago Tribune.

The Dawson taste for old scotch whisky is the cultivated taste. Peter Dawson Scotch Whisky is bottled in Scotland and has a flavor that will be a revelation to you. Kindly but firmly refuse substitutes at bars, hotels, cafes and on trains.

Like most European based whiskies, the Peter Dawson brands continued to make their way into the United States after the start of National Prohibition. An article printed in the March 10, 1925 edition of the Casper (Wyoming) Star Tribune described a confiscated shipment of Peter Dawson Scotch.

Ten quarts of Peter Dawson Scotch liquor, shipped out of New York City to F.J. Alder of Casper Wyoming, was yesterday seized by federal prohibition officers. No such man at the address has been found.

The liquor, shipped by express, was packed in a wooden shoe box which had been filled with sawdust and tin packing strips had been nailed around the box to reinforce it.

C.F. Peterson and Otto Plaga, federal agents, confiscated the shipment and sent it to headquarters of the department at Cheyenne.

Following the end of Prohibition, Julius Wile Sons & Co. was appointed as Dawson’s United States distributor. The following advertisement appeared in the December 11, 1933 edition of several U.S. newspapers.

Wile was still listed as their agent and/or distributor on advertisements as late as 1971.

Julius Wile Sons & Co. was a wine and spirits importing company that dated back to 1877, so it’s possible that they also served as Peter Dawson’s distributor prior to National Prohibition but I haven’t been able to verify (or refute) this.

The Peter Dawson Scotch bottle was a unique design that included “brambles” and  “dimples” on the shoulder and near the base but leaving a smooth area in between for the label. An April 10, 1924 advertisement in the The (London England) Guardian focused on their unique bottle design.

The Whisky bottle that gives you inside information.

Old masters, bank-notes, and the labels on valuable commercial commodities are so easily imitated nowadays that extra precautions are often necessary.

In the case of Peter Dawson, it has been found imperative to adopt, in addition to the label on the bottle, a distinguishing mark which will at once defy imitation and protect both the public and the blender.

That is the reason why “brambles” and “dimples” have been grown upon the “P.D.” bottles. It is strange but true that these “brambles” and “dimples” will only grow upon bottles containing whisky that’s genuinely old and mellowed in wood.

Seek out the “P.D.” bottle that “brambles” with pride and “dimples” with pleasure. It will give you reliable inside information of a “special” nature.

As far as I can tell, the “brambled” and “dimpled” bottle design began appearing in newspaper advertisements in the early 1920’s and the design remained relatively unchanged (other than the finish) well into the 1980’s and possibly longer.

The bottle I found is a machine made quart that exhibits the Peter Dawson “brambles” and “dimples” and matches the bottle in the 1924 advertisement, including the finish.  The base is embossed “Peter Dawson Ltd., Distillers.”  It doesn’t include the typical post-prohibition embossed phrase: “federal law forbids sale or reuse of this bottle.” As a result, the bottle was most likely manufactured overseas in the 1920’s and smuggled into the United States during Prohibition.

Steinhardt Brothers & Co., The Kintore


Steinhart Brothers & Co. were importers and wholesale liquor dealers based in New York City from the mid-1870’s up to the start of National Prohibition. Four Steinhart brothers: David, Henry, Lewis and Morris were the proprietors of the business and later members of the Strasser family also got involved. The early years of the business were profiled in a booklet entitled “A Souvenir of N.Y.’s Liquor Interests” published in 1893.

Steinhart Brothers & Co., Importers and Wholesale Liquor Dealers, Nos. 299 and 301 Patchen Avenue, Corner Chauncey Street, Brooklyn, N.Y.; 121 and 123 Hudson Street, Corner North Moore. – This representative establishment, one of the most progressive, popular and reliable concerns engaged in the great wholesale liquor trade of New York, was founded in 1872, by Lewis Steinhart, the firm becoming Steinhart Brothers in 1878 and in 1887 the present firm was organized, the individual members being Lewis Steinhart, M. Steinhart, H. Steinhart, D.G. Steinhart and A. Strasser. The copartners are all natives of New York, members of the Wholesale Liquor Dealers Association and are energetic, enterprising business men, favorably known in trade circles. The firm opened an uptown branch at Nos. 207 and 209 East 120th Street in Harlem, in 1891, buying out the house of Carson & Carroll. The Brooklyn branch was secured in 1888, the firm succeeding Aug. Immig, who had been established twenty-one years. A bottle and small package business is done at the branches; at the main store the trade is exclusively wholesale. The latter premises comprise a store and basement fully equipped with every facility for the storage of heavy stock carried, the handling and bottling of goods, the firm making a specialty of wines and liquors of their own bottling. A staff of 100 hands in all is employed in the various departments. Steinhart Brothers & Co. are general dealers in all the leading brands of wines, liqueurs, cordials, bitters, gins, brandies, champagnes, rums, Irish and Scotch, rye and bourbon whiskies, both of foreign and domestic manufacture, selling the same in bond and tax paid. They are sole agents in the United States and Canada for the original and only genuine A.E. Boonekamp Maag Bitters, established and invented at Antwerp Belgium in 1815. They are also agents for the Dr. Harter Medicine Company, of St. Louis Mo., manufacturers of Dr. Harter’s Wild Cherry Bitters, for medicinal use. Both of these bitters are popularly known and need no praise, their excellence having been fully demonstrated. Those ordering goods from this house will receive honorable and liberal treatment.

The NYC directories of that era confirm, clarify and add to the early history. Lewis (sometimes named Louis) is the first Steinhart brother that I can find with the occupation “liquors,” supporting the fact that he was the founder of the company. He’s was listed in the 1875 directory with two locations, 143 Broome and 107 Columbia. Morris and Henry follow Lewis at 143 Broome in the 1877 and 1878 listings respectively. Around this time the brothers apparently had a short term business relationship with Bernard Hartman that is not mentioned in the profile. In 1879 and only that year, both Hartman and the firm of Steinhardt & Hartman are also listed at the 143 Broome address with the occupation liquors. David Steinhardt is first listed in the 1884 directory.

The first company listing I can find for Steinhardt Brothers is in the 1882 directory. In 1889, the company name changes to Steinhardt Brothers & Co., confirming the reorganization mentioned in the profile.

Between 1875 and the early 1890’s the company maintained many different addresses within Manhattan. The primary ones included:

  • 143 Broome Street: 1875 – 1883
  • 458 Greenwich Street: 1879 – 1890
  • 87 – 93 Hudson Street: 1879 – 1888
  • 121 Hudson Street: 1893 – 1896
  • 315 Bowery: first listed in 1886 – 1898
  • 134 Mott Street: 1898 – 1902
  • 209 East 120th Street: 1892 – 1900

The profile mentioned branch locations that did a retail package business and a main wholesale location. Of the above locations, it’s not clear to me which was which.

The profile also mentioned the opening of a Brooklyn location in 1888. A copartnership notice regarding the Brooklyn operation dated February 1, 1889 was included in the August 6, 1889 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

To Whom It May Concern – Steinhart Bros. & Co., of New York and Edward Strasser of Brooklyn, have formed a copartnership to carry on a liquor business corner Patchen Ave. and Chauncey St. under the firm name of Steinhart Bros. & Co.

This appears to be the time that the Strassers got involved with the business.  At the same time that Edward joined them in Brooklyn,  Adolph Strasser was listed for the first time at each of the Steinhardt Bros. Manhattan addresses. The NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directories in the early 1900’s list nine principals: Lewis, Morris, Henry and David J. Steinhart; Edward, William W. Joseph A. and William Strasser and Louis Fletcher. By 1908, the business was listed as a New York Corporation with Lewis Steinhardt – president, William Strasser – treasurer and Joseph Strasser – secretary.

In 1900, Joseph Strasser was the firm’s advertising manager. In an interview published in the January 24, 1900 issue of the “Printers Ink” he talked about the firm’s approach to advertising. The interview focused on another of the firm’s brands, “Roxbury Rye” but still gives a good idea of their general thinking. Portions of the interview follow:

“What was your initial advertising step?” was the next question.

“About the very first was the adoption of street cars and the elevated roads. We have been liberal and rather constant patrons of these ever since starting, using both single and double cards, as well as station display, and we have also used theatrical programs extensively from the first.”

“Did you not go into the newspapers?”

“Only very limitedly. I consider dailies the mediums for telling the public more about the special merits of an article. For this purpose we employed what we consider even a better way, since it is more personal, more direct and allows us to say more than we could say in limited space. We circularized – sending out in addition to the educational matter, fine lithographed cards and elegant glass signs. These were, of course, directed to dealers entirely.”

Beginning in the early 1900’s the business had two primary locations, 29 – 31 Ninth Avenue and 2207 Third Avenue and by 1915 they were down to just the Ninth Avenue address. Around this time, Joseph Strasser replaced Lewis Steinhardt as president. Henry Steinhart was vice president but the other Steinhart brothers were no longer listed.

The 1919 Copartnership and Corporation Directory still listed them at the Ninth Avenue address but in the 1922 Directory it was stated that they were “in liquidation.”

After National Prohibition, it appears that the Steinhart name resurfaced in a company called Steinhadt Company, Inc., located at 644 Greenwich Street. The president was listed as Fred Steinhardt who had previously served as the Secretary of Steinhart Brothers & Co., in the mid to late 1910’s. The business applied for several liquor brand trade marks in 1934 including Golden Elk, DuBarry and Littlemore, but I can’t find any information on this company after the mid-1930’s.

According to the Tamany Times “The Kintore” brand was introduced into the United States market in 1897.

The Kintore brand of Scotch whiskey was introduced into the market at the beginning of the year by Messrs. A. Halliday & Co., No. 17 Harrison Street, this city.

It is a very high class Glinlivet production, distilled near the town of Kintyre, warranted ten years old, and a pure distillery whiskey. It has been tested by the best connoisseurs, and the unanimous verdict was, that it is the best in its line.

It is finding it’s way rapidly into the hands of the leading clubs, hotels and dealers throughout the large cities, and a great future is predicted for it. Messrs. Acker, Merrill & Condit, Park & Tilford, and the leading grocers, gave it a place at once, and are selling it freely upon it’s merits.

Thirteen years later, in 1910, the NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directory stated that “The Kintore’s wholesale dealer, A. Halliday & Co., was “in liquidation, so it’s very possible that Steinhart Bros. picked up the Kintore brand right around this time.

After Prohibition, the Schenley Import Corp., New York appears to have taken over as the product’s importer.

The bottle I found is actually a one quart ceramic jug that includes Steinhardt Brothers & Co. written in script. This puts the jug’s manufacture sometime between 1910 and 1919 if I’m right about Steinhart picking up the brand after A. Halliday’s liquidation in 1910.

I also found a machine made flask (7 oz) for another Steinhart brand, Littlemore Special Blend. The 1934 trademark application for Littlemore states that the name was in use dating back to 1907 so it also fits the pre-prohibition time frame.


Old Parr

old-parr  old-parr1

“Old Parr” Scotch Whiskey was introduced in 1909 by the Greenlees Brothers of London. The design registration no. 547348 embossed on the base of the bottle dates to between August 10 and August 17, 1909.

Geenlees Brothers, was included on a list of distillers in an 1874 publication called “London and Suburban Licensed Victuallers Hotel and Tavern Keepers” so the business dates back to at least that far. In 1919 they merged with William Williams & Sons Ltd, builders and owners of the Glendullan Distillery, to form MacDonald, Greenlees & Williams (Greenlees belonged to Alexander & MacDonald at that time). This company listed three brands in a 1924 overseas advertisement: Claymore, Old Parr and Sandy MacDonald (Sandy Mac).


MacDonald Greenlees & Williams joined Distillers Company Ltd in 1925, shortening their name to Macdonald Greenlees in the process. Ultimately they ended up with Diageo.

The Old Parr brand took its name from old Tom Parr, reputedly the oldest man in Britain. Supposedly he lived for 152 years and at the age of 122 married for the second time. Charles I arranged for him to be buried in Westminster Abbey in 1635. Some say his records were confused with his grandfathers but I like the original story so I’m choosing to ignore this!

It’s not clear to me who distributed Old Parr in the United States from 1909 to the start of Natinal Prohibition in 1919. In 1894 Thomas N Dwyer & Co, located at 40 Barclay Street, was listed as the sole agent for Greenlee Brothers but by the early 1900’s they were not listed in the NYC Directories.

During Prohibition it appears that Old Parr illegally entered the United States via Canada in significant numbers. This 1925 news item in the Bridgeport (Conn.) Telegram describes a confiscated shipment of Old Parr that arrived from Halifax. Dated June 11, New Haven Conn., the story reads:

The Baltimore First, hailing from Halifax and captured off New London June 2, was brought into the city dock here today with her own cargo, 1500 cases of Old Parr Scotch and rye whiskey because of the shortage of space in the New London storehouse.

At the end of Prohibition Old Parr was rapidly available again legally. In fact, this December 11, 1933 newspaper advertisement that appeared in several large city newspapers including Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Baltimore, made it pretty clear that they were accepting orders prior to Prohibition’s official end.

Orders will be accepted from the trade for shipment of the above brands to States where and when the sale of liquor is legal, subject to import quotas.

According to, Old Parr is still sold today in Japan, Mexico, the U.S. and parts of Latin America, especially Columbia.

The bottle I found is a classic Old Parr bottle; square with rounded edges and distinctive dimpled sides. It’s design hasn’t changed much since it’s inception in 1909 and over the years actually played a role in their advertising. This 1941 advertisement had the heading “An Old-Fashioned Bottle and An Old-Fashioned Reason”

In this streamlined age, there is sound thought behind the determination of Macdonald Greenlees of Leith, Scotland, to continue to ship Grand Old Parr Whisky to all countries of the world in the old-fashioned untippable bottle.

In far-off lands where house servants do not always read english labels, the squat brown flagon serves to identify at a glance this famous product from Scotland. The bottle is the guarantee of the genuine imported Grand Old Parr Scotch Whisky.

The bottle I found is mouth blown, making me think that it arrived here legally between 1909 and 1919 or illegally during prohibition. It does not have post-prohibition markings (federal law forbids…). One bottle chat-room connects it with the 1919 to 1925 MacDonald, Greenlee & Williams era but I cannot confirm this.

Bernard Kommel, 143 & 145 Park Row, N. W. Cor 27th St & 10th Ave, S. E. Cor 65th St & Amsterdam Avenue


Bernard Kommel was first listed in the 1892 NYC Directory with the occupation of liquors located at 24 Allen Street and by 1894 he moved to Park Row. He added the Amsterdam Avenue location around 1897 and the 10th Avenue location a year later. The New York State Department of Excise listed Kommel as a certificate holder at these three locations in 1898. By 1900 the Amsterdam Avenue location was no longer listed, so 1898 and possibly 1899 are the only two years he operated at the three locations embossed on the bottle.

The Park Row establishment was called the Billy Goat Saloon of which Kommel was the proprietor. According to a July 27, 1896 story in the New York World the place was not always on the same page with the law.

Policemen Armstrong and Hahn arrested Bernard Kommel, proprietor of  the “Billy Goat” saloon at No. 143 Park Row, yesterday for violating the excise law. Two hours later the policemen found 50 men in the place. Then they arrested Kommel’s wife.

By 1905, the business had grown and he listed six locations in the directory: three on 10th Avenue, two on 11th Avenue and one on W 39th Street. The Park Row business was no longer listed.

Kommel passed away sometime before 1909. The 1909 Directory listed his wife Bertha as a widow and there was no mention of any business locations.

Kommel must have been some character. According to various newspaper accounts, he actually kept pet goats at the tavern and more than once they managed to make the newspapers. A December 11, 1895 story that was picked up by more than one newspaper, including the St.Paul Globe and the Quad City Times talked of one goat’s escape from the bar.

NEW YORK, Dec. 11 – A goat was arrested for disturbing the peace in Broadway near Fulton Street by Policeman Franklin and locked up in the Church Street Station. The owner visited the station later and secured the release of the animal. Barney Kommel, the goat’s owner, keeps what is called the “Billy Goat” saloon at No. 141 Park Row. He told the police sergeant that the animal yesterday afternoon got drunk on hot Scotch whiskies to which he was treated by a man from Philadelphia who had been “doing” the Bowery.

A day later a story on the front page of the Allentown Leader clarified the story.

From the New York Evening World. The owner of the Nanny goat which was arrested for disturbing the peace in Broadway near Fulton Street, by Policeman Franklin yesterday afternoon and locked up in the Church Street station house this morning secured the release of the animal. Sergt. Saul said that he believed that he had full power to discharge the goat without sending it to a police court.

Barney Kommel, the goats owner, keeps what is called the “Billy Goat” saloon on Park Row. He told the police sergeant that he had two goats. Yesterday afternoon “Nanny” got drunk on hot Scotch whiskey, to which she was treated by a man from Philadelphia who had been “doing” the Bowery.

“Billy drinks nothing but mixed ale.” said Mr. Kommel. “and Nannie generally fills up on stale beer. If they mix their drinks they are sure to get a jag. Billy knows this and has not been drunk since last New Years Day, but Nanny has been on a spree now for a week, and yesterday she had a touch of the D. T.’s”

Mrs. Murphy, a friend and neighbor of the saloonkeeper was in front of the saloon when Nanny was brought home from the station-house.

“Sure and why should the darlin’ be ashamed? Isn’t it a good woman’s failing’ just as well as a man’s to take a drop too much now and then?” said Mrs. Murphy.

No one contradicted the lady, and she gave the bartender a nickel to straighten out Nanny’s nerves.

Another story, from the same time period and also involving a loose goat, tells of the bar getting a new goat.

Kommel’s New Goat

Butts Two Chinamen and is a Worthy Successor of “Irish Dan”

When “Irish Dan” Barney Kommel’s pet billygoat, and the pride of the Park Row panhandlers, passed away happily, owing to his inordinate fondness for beer in his master’s saloon in Park Row last October, the whole neighborhood went into mourning. Dan was as fine a gentlemen goat as ever butted a hobo or sunk his nose into a foaming schooner.

Without a goat the barroom seemed bare so Kommel imported a kid of tender years from the Brownsville district of Brooklyn to become Dan’s successor. The free lunch and the Park Row wassail was too much for the kid so it too left this vale of tears carrying along all the beer there was left. Then Kommel started out to hustle for a new goat.

The new goat arrived yesterday and all day the arrival duly was celebrated at Kommel’s bar. The new goat was said to have been imported from Ireland, but there are vague rumors that it was captured in the Long Island woods. The billy was hitched to the bock beer sign in front of the place and announcement was made over the bar that he would be christened in the evening and that the festivities would begin at 8 o’clock.

The new goat shied at a Third Avenue trolley car in the morning, broke his hitching and ran all the way to Chatam Square, but was captured and brought back after he had established a record by butting two Chinamen and devouring a pair of pants on a dummy in front of “The Only Original Cohen’s”

Billy was christened in proper style last night. Decorated with two funeral wreaths, a bunch of immortellies brought from a Bowery undertaking shop and a daisy chain he occupied the center of the barroom floor, shaking his head and bleating at all who came to pay him homage. All the thisty rounders in Park Row and the Bowery were at the celebration and once more there is joy and happiness in Kommel’s barroom.

The Park Row addresses no longer exist. They were located on the grounds of what is now a large apartment complex.

The bottle is a mouth blown strap sided flask. Embossed with the three specific addresses, it dates to 1888 or 1889.

H B Kirk & Co., New York

kirk   kirk-1

The H stands for Harford B Kirk. The company was a well-known and respected bottler of wines and liquors that was in business for just about 70 years. An early company advertisement in 1860 mentioned Osborn’s Port, Chillingworth’s Port, Brandies, Sherries and Madeiras, Champagne, Rums, Gins, Scotch and Irish Whiskeys as well as ales and porters.

The following article in the January 1, 1886 issue of the New York Times provides some basic information on the company.

H B Kirk & Co

Pure Wines and Liquors

Among the old established firms in New York distinguished for handling reliable goods of the very highest standard is the firm of H B Kirk & Co., whose establishments at No. 69 Fulton Street, the corner of Broadway and Twenty-seventh Street and No. 9 Warren Street are well known and largely patronized. The firm’s specialties consist of the well known Kentucky sour mash whiskies such as “Hermitage,” (both rye and bourbon) “Oscar Pepper,” “Old Crow” rye, of the latter of which H B Kirk & Co have taken the entire production for the last 14 years. They are also the sole agents for the productions of the Pleasant Valley Wine Company, which are known in all the markets of the world as strictly pure and reliable. The business was established in 1852.

The NYC Directories back up and ultimately finish much of the story. Harford Kirk, wines, was first listed individually around 1855 / 1856 and HB Kirk and Co was first listed around 1864 /1865. The business remained listed into the mid- 1920’s. After the start of National Prohibition the business was listed as liquors for non-beverage purposes (whatever that means?). I don’t see any advertisements for them during this period so I doubt they were very active if at all.

The company was primarily located on Fulton Street, first at 58 Fulton Street and later at 69 Fulton Street up until 1902 and then moved to 156 Franklin Street. After the start of Prohibition they moved to 1475 Broadway. Over the years they also had additional branch locations as well, including the Broadway and Warren Street locations mentioned in the story.

As the above story points out, H.B, Kirk was the exclusive bottler of Old Crow Rye. The two firms partnered from the early 1870’s up until the start of National Prohibition in 1919 and Old Crow Rye was considered Kirk’s signature product. The relationship between the two firms is described in the December 17,1905 edition of the New York Times.

Pretty much every New Yorker who uses whiskey at all has sampled “Old Crow Rye” either at its home, H.B.Kirk & Co.’s famous old place on Broadway and Twenty-seventh Street, or at the homes of his friends. But of this number probably very few know the history of this sterling and time-tried brand, which for many years has stood at the top of all Rye whiskeys.

The origin of “Old Crow” dates back to the early thirties of the last century, when James Crow, a noted chemist of that period, settled in Kentucky and applied his knowledge to the distilling of Whiskey. His success was so pronounced that the product of his still became known not only in this country, but abroad, as the best. At the death of James Crow in 1856, W.A. Gaines & Co. secured from his heirs the secret of his great success as a distiller, and have continued the distilling of “Old Crow” in the same manner that was laid down by James Crow, not attempting to improve on his methods, as the results were perfection in whiskey.

In 1872, 19 years after his business was established, Mr. H.B. Kirk placed a sample order of 200 barrels with W.A. Gaines & Co. When it came to maturity, Mr. Kirk was delighted with its quality, and placed a large order, entering into a formal contract to take the entire output of the Old Crow Rye distillery. From that day on, the output of the distillery has been increased from year to year, going , as agreed under the contract, exclusively to H.B. Kirk & Co., who are the sole bottlers and distributor of same. In addition to their free bottling at No. 156 Franklin St., New York, they are bottling in bond under the Government supervision at the bonded warehouses in Kentucky. The steady and ever increasing demand for “Old Crow Rye” is a source of great satisfaction to H.B. Kirk & Co., proving that the method adopted at the origin of the company in 1852, and strictly adhered to, of giving the very best that could be produced meets with the public’s approval and secures their patronage.

“Old Crow Rye” is sold in bottles only. If offered over any other name than that of H.B. Kirk & Co., it is a fraud.

The advertisements for Old Crow Rye were at times quite humorous. One, in 1897, called it “the Washington of Whiskies.”

Like the father of our country our Old Crow Rye is honest truthful and always reliable.


Another observed:

We see by the papers that a Mr. Lynch has just died in Muncie Ind., at the early age of 120 years, and who for many years took in heavy jags of Old Crow Rye. He was in hard luck. We hope his premature demise will not deter others from using it.

On a final note, in 1918 as the government was getting ready to enact National Prohibition and basically shut them down, H.B. Kirk still contributed advertising space to support the war effort.

I found two identical bottles embossed “Bottle Remains the Property of H B Kirk & Co NY”. On the opposite side there’s an embossed insignia consisting of what looks like three faces. Most likely, they contained “Old Crow” Rye.

Gordon’s Dry Gin, London, England, Reg’d 610617

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The initial Gordon’s Distillery dates back to 1769 in London and they began making a form of dry gin sometime after the advent of continuous distillation in the 1830’s.

Gordon & Company merged with Tanqueray  in 1898 and it was around this time  that listings for Gordon Dry Gin began to appear in U.S. newspaper advertisements. The first mention that I could find in a New York City newspaper were several advertisements for Macy’s, who listed Gordons Gin under the heading “Fine Wines for Medicinal Use.” According to this advertisement, printed in the February 19, 1903 issue of The Sun, you could find Gordon’s Gin on the fifth floor.

Gordon’s advertisements in several 1915 issues of Life Magazine advertised drinks that were made with Gordon’s Gin. These included mint juleps, orange blossoms, gin daiseys and south sides.


Around this time, Gordons was apparently having problems with supply, price and authenticity in this country. Statements made to the American public contained in Life Magazine bear this out. The content of two statements is shown below.

February 18, 1915


April 27, 1916


This last advertisement mentioned the establishment of a modern bottling operation in New York City which they apparently accomplished in 1916. It was listed in the various NYC Directories between 1916 and 1922 as Gordon’s Dry Gin Co., Ltd, a New York Corporation located at 101 Park Avenue. Not surprisingly, by 1925 they were no longer listed.

In 1934, shortly after Prohibition ended, Gordon’s opened a United States distillery in Linden New Jersey. The plant remained in operation until 1984 when Distiller’s Company Ltd., who had acquired Tanguery Gordon & Co. in 1923, closed it down.

Most of the 1930’s post prohibition advertisements that I could find reference the Linden N.J. location.

Gordon’s is now part of Diageo.

Today, 101 Park Avenue is a 49-story skyscraper opened in the early 1980’s that in no way is associated with the business.

The bottle I found is a typical Gordon’s bottle described in the statement above with space for the label below the embossed registration number. The Design Registration No 610617 on the bottle that I found dates between 1912 and 1913. It’s mouth blown and that makes me think it was imported from England between 1913 and 1915 and not made in the United States. Anything made in the United States in 1916 from a newly established bottling plant would probably have been machine-made. I have also seen machine made versions of this bottle that were likely made in America.

Gaelic Old Smuggler

old-smuggler-2  old-smuggler-3           old-smuggler-1

According to Internet sources the Old Smuggler brand dates back to as early as 1835.

The first mention of the brand that I could find associates it with the Stirling Bonding Company, founded in 1878. They registered “Gaelic” as a trade name in 1884 and “Old Smuggler” as a trade name in 1887 but were probably using them before they were registered.

In 1894 the Craigellachie-GlenlivetDistillery Co was formed to acquire both the Craigellachie Distillery Co and the Stirling Bonding Co. At the time the new company issued a statement that in part said:

The business carried on formerly by the Stirling Bonding Co was founded in 1878 for the purpose of shipping high class whiskies to the colonies and the company has since done a profitable and steady export trade. The company’s brands have since been in high repute and it is anticipated that with increased capital a larger and more profitable trade will be done.

Based on the above statement it’s safe to assume that Gaelic Old Smuggler began being shipped to the United States prior to 1894, probably sometime between 1878 and 1887.

P W Engs & Sons was the bottler/distributor for the Craigellachie-Glenlivet Distillery Co. in the U S during this time. They were a reputable wholesale Liquor Dealer in NYC dating back to 1808.

An article in an 1898 issue of the Pacific Wine & Spirit Review stated that Engs was a bottler for the Glenlivit Distillery and P W Engs, 268 West Broadway, was also listed with Craigellachie-Glenlivet in the 1903 and 1904 Importers Directory of the Wine and Spirits Bulletin.

A Pre-prohibition advertisement from the February 13, 1913 edition of the Ottawa Journal described Old Smuggler like this:

Genuine Old Scotch Whisky in moderation, is the safest and most economical beverage on account of its refreshing and stimulating qualities.

Gaelic Old Smuggler is a genuine Scotch Whisky, matured for 10 years in sherry casks and possessing those subtle ethers and higher alcohols only found in the very highest class Whiskys. It has stood the public test for half a century.

Another advertisement, this one from July 31, 1912, exhibits a squat, cylindrical bottle, similar to the one I found.

In 1921 the Stirling Bonding Co, then a subsidiary of Craigellachie-Glenlivet, was acquired and made a subsidiary of a company called Stodarts. During prohibition, they shipped Gaelic Old Smuggler to Canada and the Bahamas but there was little doubt it was intended for re-export to the United States. Among its illegal receipiants in the U S were Jack Kriendler and Charlie Berns, proprietors of the 21 Club, a famous speakeasy during the 1920’s in Manhattan. They later became the whiskey’s distributor in the U S.

In 1930 the Canadian firm Hiram Walker acquired a 60% holding in Stodarts and the Stirling Bonding Co. The Old Smuggler brand remained with Hiram Walker and was subsequently passed on to Allied Distilleries. In 2006 Gruppo Campari acquired the brand.

I’ve found two Gaelic Old Smuggler bottles. One is a mouth blown squat cylinder that most likely dates from 1894 when Craigellachi-Glenlivet acquired Stirling to as late as the mid-teens. The other is a machine-made pint sized flask that appears to date to just prior to or during the Prohibition era.

Dryfoos, Blum & Co., New York


The proprietors were Alphonse Dreyfoos and Eugene Blum.

Alphonse Dreyfoos, with the occupation of liquor, first appeared in the NYC Directories around 1876/1877. He ran a retail liquor business and/or saloon on Second Avenue from 1876 to the early 1900’s. Originally located at 737 Seventh Avenue he moved to 654 Second Avenue in the early 1880’s. He also listed a second location at 61 Warren Street from 1886 to 1896. In an 1889 passport application he also listed 150 Chambers Street as an address.

Dryfoos Blum & Co was first listed in the 1896 NYC Directory as “wines,” located at 150 Chambers Street.  The 1897 NYC Trow Business Directory listed them as a “wholesale liquor dealer.” They moved to 42 West Broadway/65 Park Place (northwest corner of West Broadway and Park Place) around 1900 and remained there until the early 1920’s. They are listed in the 1920 Directory but not in 1922, apparently a victim of nationl prohibition.

Dryfoos was also active is applying for patents. They include:

1880 – Registered a trademark for “Wald Koenig Bitters”

1894 – Applied for a patent (serial no 502538) to provide a new and improved composite bottle that was designed to hold a variety of liquids and arranged to permit pouring them individually or two or more at one time to form a mixed drink.


1895 – Applied for a patent (serial no 553608) to provide a decorative bottle design that featured niches and figurines (statues) set within the niches.


1909 – Applied for a patent (serial No 42319) for a liqueur called BON-BON.

The West Broadway/Park Place location is now within the footprint of 75 Park Place, a large office building that takes up the whole block. 150 Chambers is a 19th Century building with an ornate cast iron treatment at street level that certainly dates back to the business.

The bottle I found is an 8 oz flask with a tooled brandy finish that fits the earlier half of the 1897 to 1922 time period.

Charrot & Henry, 118 Flatbush Avenue, 571 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn NY


The proprietors were Auguste Charrot and Alphonse Henry. According to his obituary, Charrot was born in Switzerland and came to the United States in 1880. He was in the watch case business for 10 years, after which he established Charrot & Henry.

The business was first listed in the 1890 Brooklyn City Directory at 58 Flatbush Avenue on the corner of Livingston Street. According to court records, they were forced to move in 1906 when the City acquired and demolished a portion of their building in order to widen Livingston Street.

The business relocated to 118 Flatbush Avenue and 571 Atlantic Avenue and was listed there through mid 1919.

It appears that the 118 Flatbush Avenue and 571 Atlantic Avenue addresses both relate to the same building. A description of the building is contained in an April 29, 1906 classified advertisement by Charrot & Henry where they attempted to rent out the first floor. The advertisement stressed an entrance on both Avenues. Apparently Charot & Henry used the upper floors.

They were importers and wholesale distributors of liquor, wine and beer. The 1907 Trow Business Directory for Brooklyn and Queens listed them under three separate classifications: “champagne,” “wine and liquor importers” and “wine, liquor and lager beer.”

An advertisement in the March 30, 1895 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle names them as a Brooklyn distributor for “Premier Brand California Wines”

Around the turn of the century, they were also local distributors for the Brotherhood Wine Company. A story in the January 5, 1901 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle headlined: “DO YOU DRINK GOOD WINE? Where the readers of this paper can buy good wines,” speaks of their association with Brotherhood.

Messrs. Charrot and Henry of 58 Flatbush Ave say that the best Brooklyn families now use wine at table, the same as every family does abroad. This firm makes a specialty of Brotherhood Wines, made by Brotherhood Wine Co., established 1839.

Quality and purity guaranteed. Be sure to ask for Brotherhood Wines. Get good wines. Do not buy cheap wines.

If you have not tried the Brotherhood Wines for dinner or for entertaining friends you have missed a real pleasure.

Best wines for the money in Brooklyn. Try them.

Charrot and Henry cater to the best family trade. Ladies can stop at their store and leave their orders or you can call us up by telephone.

They were also associated with Ballantine Ale. This 1897 Ballantine advertisement listed Charrot & Henry as one of eight Brooklyn distributors for their India Pale Ale, Burton Ale and Brown Stout brands that were brewed and bottled in Ballantine’s Newark New Jersey brewery.

On the eve of Prohibition, an advertisement in the June 11, 1919 Issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle announced that Charrot & Henry were vacating on July 1, 1919 and that they were selling their fine stock of wines, liquors, brandies, gins, cordials, ports sherries, etc.

Two months later, they apparently had moved to 1 Hanson Place and had become the distributor for non-alcoholic beverages made by a company called Charles Jacquin. An August 3, 1919 advertisement in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle named them as the distributor for a beverage called “Kuloff” and other non-intoxicating cordials.

This venture did not last long. Charrot & Henry was included in the 1920 Brooklyn telephone listings, at 306 Fulton Street, but they were no longer listed in 1924 (the next listing I have access to).

Charrot’s obituary stated that he retired in 1920 and neither Auguste Charrot or Alphonse Henry lived to see the end of Prohibition. Charrot died in 1924 and Henry died five years later in 1929.

The bottle I found is a quart size liquor bottle. It has the 118 Flatbush Ave/571 Atlantic Ave addresses embossed on it so it was made no earlier than 1906. It’s mouth blown so it was probably made shortly after the move.