Buchanan’s Black & White Whiskey

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James Buchanan went into business on is own in England in 1884, bottling Scotch Whiskey and founding James Buchanan & Co. Originally he did not produce his own whiskey, it was produced for him by the Glasgow blenders W P Lowerie & Co.

The story of how the whiskey got the name “Black & White” was offered up in a July 19, 1968 Life Magazine advertisement.

He put it up in a striking black and white (labeled) bottle and called it Buchanan’s Blend.

But in the dimly lit pubs of the era, customers began asking for his whisky simply by pointing to “that black and white bottle.” So he quickly changed the name to “Black & White” Scotch

According to Diego, who’s the current owner of the brand, the name change occurred in 1902.

The Life Magazine advertisement also addressed the brand’s  black and white terrier trademark.

James Buchanan loved animals. This appears to be the principal reason why he settled on these black and white terriers as his trademark. In any case it proved an inspired choice.

The public promptly took them to heart and promptly labeled them “the Black & White Scotties.” Although dog breeders often remind us that technically speaking the West Highland white terrier isn’t really a Scottie at all.

In 1903 the business incorporated as a private limited company (Ltd). In 1906 Buchanan’s bought Loweries and by 1909 was the best selling Scotch in England. According to the Life Magazine advertisement:

To achieve the intricate balance of lightness, smoothness and flavor for which “Black & White” is noted, he used as many as 65 single whiskies in his blending.

The company merged with Dewers in 1915 and they joined with the Distillers Company in 1925. Guinness acquired the Distillers Co. in 1986, and they merged with Grand Metropolitan in 1997 to form Diageo.

In the early 1900’s, John Osborne & Co.,23 So. William Street in New York City, was listed in the Wine & Spirit Bulletin’s Importer Directory as the U.S. agent for the James Buchanan Co. Then sometime in 1902 or 1903 Buchanan’s opened a New York outlet. They were not listed in the NYC Directory in 1903 but I did find an advertisement in the January 3, 1903 issue of “Collier’s Weekly” that listed their U S Branch as 43 Broadway and Arthur Billen as their N Y manager.

They were listed that way in the NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directories until 1908. Around that time they moved to 29 Broadway and established a New York Corporation to act as their agent with Buchanan named as President and Billen as Treasurer.

In 1914 they dissolved this corporation and began using Alex D. Shaw & Co located at 76 Broad Street (and later 12 Stone Street) as their agent. Shaw was the agent for many over seas companies including Old Bushmill’s Distillery (whiskey), Bisquit Dubouche & Co (cognac), Coates & Co (dry gin), E H Keeling & Son (rum) and F Cinzano & Co (vermouth). This arrangement lasted until at least 1919 when National Prohibition was enacted.

The brand resurfaced in the United States shortly after the end of Prohibition. This 1935 advertisement in the Pittsburgh Press evidenced that Alex D.Shaw & Co. continued to act as their U.S. agent. By this time Shaw was located at 120 Broadway.

Diagio still produces the Black & White brand today. According to their web site it’s popular in India, South Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.

I’ve found two cylindrical bottles embossed Buchanan’s Black & White Whiskey on the base of the shoulder. The bottles are both mouth blown with an applied finish and fit the 1902 to 1919 time period prior to Prohibition.

 

Pichel & Schwab, 174 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn NY

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The business of Pichel and Schwab was first listed in the Brooklyn directories around 1897 as “liquors” at 174 Bedford Avenue. They are not listed in 1895. The business was listed in the various Brooklyn Directories up through 1920.  Most listings labeled them as either “liquors” or “wine merchants.”

1900 census records list Adolph Pichel, Jacob Schwab and his son Daniel, all living at 174 Bedford Avenue, so it appears they were the founders of the business.

Up through 1907 the business listed a single address at 174 Bedford Avenue, then in 1909 they added a second location at 1351 Fulton Street. Both of these addresses were listed between 1909 and 1914. The directory classifications generally labeled the Bedford Avenue location as “wholesale liquors” or “wine merchants.” The Fulton Street location was simply labeled liquors so it was probably the retail store.

The 1910 census records showed Adolph Pichel living on Bedford Ave and Daniel Schwab living on Fulton Street. Based on this I assume it was a relatively small operation with each living at or above one of the stores.

Over the years, they occasionally  listed other addresses as well including: Metropolitan Ave., corner of Graham and 48 Sumpter. I assume these were also retail locations.

In 1915 they dropped the Bedford Avenue address and just listed the single location on Fulton Street. By 1920 the business had moved to 278 Ralph Avenue, also in Brooklyn.

The business was almost certainly a victim of National Prohibition. The February, 1920 telephone book listed Pichel & Schwab, liquors, at 278 Ralph Avenue. Three months later, in the May listings, the business name had  changed to Pichel Products and 1920 census records listed Adolph Pichel’s occupation as “wholesale merchant – candy.”

Daniel Schwab was also included in the 1920 census with no occupation. By 1930 he was in the oil business

One of the products they were associated with was King David’s Monogram Whiskey. A Pichel and Schwab shot glass, exhibited on e-bay, advertised both the Bedford Avenue and Fulton Street addresses.

The building at 174 Bedford has recently been razed. In 2015 a new building was under construction there.

The bottle I found looks like a pretty common champagne style beer bottle. Based on the above research, it may have contained wine or at some point they also bottled beer. The bottle has a tooled blob finish (12 oz) embossed with the Bedford Ave address.