Gibson Canadian Timeline

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Gibson Canadian Timeline

Unread postby bourbonv » Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:26 pm

This is the timeline for a Canadian whisky brand that evolved out of an American rye brand. Schenley did this with Gibson and OFC so that there would be some name recognition for the new brands.


Gibson Canadian Heritage

1836 - John Gibson starts to distill whiskey at Gibsonton
Mills, Pa. (U D Archive, Uncataloged Document).

1853 - Gibson builds a larger distillery (U D Archive,
Uncataloged Document).

1891 - Henry C Gibson of Gibsonton, Pa., the son of John
Gibson, dies on Dec. 19, 1891. (Wine and Spirits
Bulletin, Louisville Public Library).

1900 - Advertisement in Wine and Spirit Bulletin list Moore &
Sinnott as "Proprietors and Successors to John Gibson's
Son & Co." (June 1, 1900, p.11).

o - Article in Wine and Spirit Bulletin about Gibson Pure
Rye states that they will produce for the year 1900
16,450 barrels and that they have been limiting their
production since 1894 (June 1, 1900, p.20).

1911 - The Mida's Criteria Financial Index list the Gibson
distillery as DSP 14, 23rd District, Pa. with their
offices in Philadelphia, Pa. with a capital value of
the company being AAAA (over $1,000,000.00).

1914 - Gibson Pure Rye trademark is filed on June 9, 1914,
(#97,533) with claim of use back to 1837 (U D Archive,
Gibson Trademark File).

1930 - Schenley acquires the Thompson - Gibson Distributing
Co. with "all brands, trademarks, trade names owned or
controlled by Thompson", including Gibson (U D Archive,
Gibson trademark File).

1933 - Schenley builds a new blending and bottling plant at
Alladin, Pa. (1933 Schenley Annual Report).

1945 - Schenley acquires the Quebec Distillers, Inc. and
changes the name to Canadian Schenley, Ltd. (U D
Archive, 992.m.164).

1950 - Schenley introduces a line of 8 year old whiskeys
including Gibson straight rye and bourbon (1950
Schenley Annual Report).

1953 - Growth of sales make building a new warehouse at
Valleyfield Distillery (1953 Schenley Annual Report).


Mike Veach
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Unread postby bourbonv » Sun Oct 01, 2006 11:00 am

I am moving this forward for the inquiry about the Gibson Rye Barrel.
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Unread postby gillmang » Sun Oct 01, 2006 12:38 pm

The Schenley plant in Valleyfield, Quebec is now owned by Barton Brands of Bardstown. I didn't realise the same plant (Schenley's origibally) in Quebec that makes Schenley OFC also makes Gibson's Canadian whisky but it makes sense since Gibson's is the older end of the range, OFC in Canada is 4 years old and the Gibson line starts at 12 I think (I'll check at the LCBO).

It is interesting to see in the timeline that Schenley made straight rye and bourbon in Quebec. That must have been the last stocks if it was sold in Canada as straights (as opposed to being used in blending to make products like OFC and Gibson's Canadian whisky). There was no straight rye or straight bourbon made in Canada sold here after the early 1950's. If Schenley continued to make them after that, it was solely for use as "flavouring whiskies" for the Canadian brands mentioned. Also, Schenley in Canada may have supplied some straight rye uncut for Schenley's declining Pennsylvania and other U.S. markets for such article. Some may have gone into blended American whiskey. The wooden barrel referred to is interesting and clearly is from a time when Gibson was a true rye whiskey and still made in the U.S.

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Unread postby bourbonv » Sun Oct 01, 2006 12:55 pm

Gary,
I am not sure that Schenley ever made a bourbon or rye in Canada. Gibson is one of the brands of American Whiskey (OFC and Golden Wedding being the others) that Schenley turned into Canadian whisky brands in the 1950's. This helped jump start the brands because they had some name recognition already.

Gibson was an old rye whiskey brand from Pennsylvania. The rye was know for its quality in its time, if you believe the Gibson advertisements. Schenley acquired the brand and distillery shortly after prohibition. I don't think they ever re-opened the distillery, but they have the minute books and company seal at the U. D. Aarchive.
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Unread postby gillmang » Sun Oct 01, 2006 3:57 pm

Mike, thanks, I inferred the production at Valleyfield, Quebec of straight rye and straight bourbon from the 1950 (penultimate) entry in your timeline.

Although, if they bought the distillery in 1945, how could they have 8 year old straight whiskey from it in 1950? Because, I would think, aging inventory on hand was bought with the business in 1945.

Schenley would have had to make straight rye in Canada (or something like it, since that is a U.S. definition) to blend with its high proof aged spirit. Either that or bring in the real thing from the U.S. Since it evidently owned much rye production capacity in the U.S. at the time, why would it bother with straight rye production at Valleyfield? I don't know. Maybe the spec of Canadian whisky then (and possibly today, at Valleyfield) was to distill low-proof rye whisky but age it in reused wood, which would have required on-site production since that article was and is not in commerce in the U.S. as rye whiskey.

By the way on the way home from a long walk today I noted that Gibson's Canadian whisky states on the label it is from George Grant, Mississauga, Ontario. This is the Grant of Scots whisky fame. So clearly the label is owned by whoever owns George Grant in Scotland and its brands. But who produces the Gibson's Canadian whisky for George Grant? I don't know, it could be Schenley at Valleyfield, Quebec, but I am not sure.

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Unread postby gillmang » Mon Oct 02, 2006 7:45 am

With regard to low-proof rye whiskeys aged in barrels that are not new and charred not being sold in the U.S., I have to make an exception for Anchor's 18th century style rye whiskey which is a low proof pot still distillate, made from all-malted rye, but aged in reused or wood barrels that are not new and charred. This however is a relatively new product. It resembles I think Lot 40 in Canada (off and on the market here, currently MIA) which is rye-based (some unmalted) and probably aged in whole or in part in reused charred barrels or other barrels that aren't new charred small wood. I heard when Lot 40 first came out, or read somewhere (maybe on Lew Bryson's site?) that it is the flavoring whisky for the Corby's brand. But there is no doubt that "real" straight whiskey is used as the flavoring element in some Canadian whiskies, e.g., I was told once by someone associated with Kirin that bourbon made at Four Roses was brought to Canada for use in Crown Royal. Whether that is still the case, I don't know, but it was some years ago. While the predominant style of Canadian whisky is fairly bland and light-bodied, the flexibility of the definition allows many types of whiskies to be made and offered as Canadian whisky. In fact whiskey could be made and processed here in the same way bourbon and rye are in the U.S. But you could not by law call them bourbon and straight rye here, is my understanding. Since the U.S. bourbon industry is so involved now in the Canadian whisky industry, I always wondered why a U.S.-style bourbon isn't sold here, or a bourbonised Canadian whisky (say one that contains 50% or more bourbon-style whisky).

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Unread postby bourbonv » Mon Oct 02, 2006 9:16 am

Gary,
I am not sure that the 8yo whiskeys that are mentioned in the timeline were made in Canada. They could have been. Ancient Age was born in Canada during prohibition and shipped to the United States upon repeal. This gave Schenley additional aged whiskey to sell when most other companies were selling 1, 3 or 6 month old product from their distilleries.

Most likely these older whiskey's were American stocks bottled and advertised to create aditional brand recognition for the new Canadian Gibson.
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