American Distilling Company
American Distilling Company
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American Distilling Company
Specimen, circa mid 1900's
Security-Columbian Bank Note Company
11 3/4" (w) by 8" (h)
Show the exact certificate you will receive
Please note signs of moisture along top half of piece
In 1891 the derelict Hamburg Distillery in Pekin, Illinois was destroyed by fire. One year later the plant of a new distillery was erected on the site. Everett Wilson was one of the incorporators of the new liquor company, one that boasted capitalization of $100,000. The plant covered six acres and the distillery had a capacity of four thousand bushels of grain per day. It was chartered as the American Distilling Company and Everett Wilson became its first president.
The new distillery used a wide range of brand names, including "American Pride", "Cologne Springs", "English Dry Gin", "Hopedale Rye", "Juniper Berry Gin", "Longwood", "Meadwood", "Old American Rye", "Old Colony Gin", "Pekinil Gin", "Silver Run Bourbon", "Silver Run Gin", and "Three Star Spirits." American Pride was its flagship brand, with a picture of a comely woman on the label that also showed up on a tip tray. In 1908, American Distilling absorbed a conglomerate of three other distilleries and continued to add whiskey-making capacity.
As Prohibition loomed, the firm made a lunge at being considered a medicinal product. It advertised: "If You Use Whiskey at all - American Pride IS WHAT YOU WANT! For Medicinal or Potable Purposes of Any Kind.” To an extent the ploy worked. During Prohibition, unlike most others, Wilson’s distillery changed its name to the American Commercial Alcohol Corporation and stayed open by producing industrial alcohol.
Before the end of Prohibition, Wilson and his associates sold the distillery. With Repeal came a new era in whiskey production. The emphasis now was on a New York sales office and marketing agents to bring the American Distilling’s revitalized and some new brands into the market. Among the new offerings was "Sharkey Whiskey," celebrating the famous heavyweight fighter of the 1920s and 1930s.
American Distilling’s plant survived a disastrous fire and explosion in 1954, one that killed three workers and injured a number of others. Through the years under multiple owners and name changes the Pekin distillery continued to produce alcohol for beverage, industrial and fuel applications. After closing briefly in 2009, it reopened in 2010 under ownership by the Illinois Corn Processing Co. The distillery that Everett Wilson built, the home of American Pride Bourbon, now was making ethanol.
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