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.