Rossville Distillery

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Rossville Distillery

Unread postby fredrjr » Sat May 23, 2009 1:12 pm

I am interested in the Rossville Distillery, Lawrenceburg, IN. I am Fred Sander, the great great grandson of Nicholas OESTER. Nick died 24 Oct 1894. He is buried in Aurora, IN.
I believe that Nick was the founder of Rossville Distillery. My notes indicate that I contacted Seagrams in Nov, 1989. The Seagram's people in New York were either unable or noncommittal re/Rossville, except to confirm that they bought Rossville in 1933. Rossville also sold in 1894/95, coincident with Nick's death. I do not know if the events were connected.

My great grandfather, Christoph Friedrich SANDER, married Nicholas OESTER's eldest child: Maria Anna Wilhelmine OESTER

The OESTER family has been unresponsive. The last time I checked they were scattered west of Chicago.

Any info would be appreciated.

Fred Sander
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Re: Rossville Distillery

Unread postby bourbonv » Sun May 31, 2009 6:52 pm

The 1909 Mida's Criteria Financial Index lists the Rossville Distilling Co. Dy. No. 7, 6th district Indiana, owned by Jas. Walsh & Co., Cincinnati, Ohio. James Walsh and Co are reted at AAAA and are also rectifiers, located Union Trust building. The "AAAA" rating is above $1,000,000.00. The Mida's Trademark register has the Rossville trademark registered since 1876 and is simply a barrel head with a large "B" with "Rossville" arching over the "B" and "Bourbon" curving under the "B". There is also a Rossvile Rye with "Rye" replacing "Bourbon" in the trademark. PM Me your mailing address and I will copy the pages for you and driop them in the mail.
Mike Veach
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Re: Rossville Distillery

Unread postby p_elliott » Tue Jun 02, 2009 9:04 am

I told Fred that if anyone could find the answer it would be Mike and it seems you have.
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Re: Rossville Distillery

Unread postby fredrjr » Tue Jun 02, 2009 10:35 pm

Mike:

Thank you for your reply. I will take you up on your offer!

Nick OESTER would have been on the ground as a 21 year old in 1850. Mozilla asked about the "B" in the trademark. I'm gon'a guess Burchhelm or Bavaria, or both!

I would be most interested in who registered the trademark. That would help move back in time a little more.

Fred
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Re: Rossville Distillery

Unread postby fredrjr » Wed Jun 03, 2009 2:59 am

I appreciate the interest shown in Nicholas OESTER. Here is what I know: Thanks to Mike we now have a trademark for Rossville circa 1909 with a registry date of 1887. Nick was 21 years old in 1850. He was from Burchhelm, Bavaria. He was, as a young man, a barrel maker. See Mike's description of the Rossville trademark. As an older man, he identified himself to census takers as a "stillman".

I have a picture of the OSTER family taken when my great grandmother (the eldest child) was still at home. The photograph indicates that Nick OESTER was well beyond making barrels on the banks of the Ohio river. The picture clearly shows that he, in fact, was wealthy. He was a member of the Evangelical Reform Church, 5th Street, Aurora, Dearborn, IN. A mixed-marriage in the family was: Lutheran/Catholic. And! - it was barely tolerated!

A distillery generated his wealth. In a letter written in the 1960's, his granddaughter Jean DORREL states, "Grandfather Oester was a smart man - he taught himself to read & write in both German and English. He was also a manufacturer of whiskey and other alcoholic products. His place was called "Rossville Distillery" in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. Now owned by Seagrams (see the Four Roses bottle). He was good to his brothers and sisters."

My cousin Jean's statement, of course, is not "proof".

Fred
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Re: Rossville Distillery

Unread postby p_elliott » Wed Jun 03, 2009 9:13 am

He could of been of course one of the members of the administration of the distillery working his way up from a barrel maker. That would have made him wealthy and made it " his place".
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Re: Rossville Distillery

Unread postby cowdery » Thu Jun 04, 2009 8:21 pm

I've never known much about the history of that distillery and it never seemed important because the whiskey it made was only used in blends. Angostura may change that. It's also widely believed--on some pretty good evidence--that both the Templeton and High West ryes were made there. Not being in Kentucky has seemed to cut against it producing bourbon. Angostura seems uninterested in using its U.S. properties to create its own domestic brands. It professes to be in the contract and bulk sales business. But anything is possible. I also don't know anything about the old National plant Beam now operates in Cincinnati, although I think they just mix up DeKuyper liqueurs and bottle them there. I don't know if it was ever a distillery. Ohio and Indiana both had distilleries on both sides of Prohibition, though Lawrenceburg Distillers Indiana (the current name, abbreviated LDI) is the only one that survived. The Kulsveens have never mentioned them as a source for KBD, but that doesn't mean they aren't one. LDI doesn't do bottling, so they would only be able to sell bulk whiskey to producers that do, or that use a middleman like KBD. More fuel for the fire.
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Re: Rossville Distillery

Unread postby osurfc » Wed Sep 16, 2009 10:09 am

I have some more information about Rossville that may be of interest. The my grandfather was William "Will" O'Shaughnessy and during prohibition he and his brothers (Eugene and Victor) operated Rossville. From the Seagrams history is this excerpt
Prohibition ended in the United States in 1933. The next year a conservative lawyer, Richard Bedford Bennett, was chosen to head the Canadian Conservative Party and immediately launched an investigation into the liquor smuggling industry. The Bronfmans were arrested, and a year later they were tried. The judge threw the case out of court.
In 1928 Sam Bronfman had anticipated the end of Prohibition and begun to stockpile and age whiskey. Now the company owned the largest private stock of properly mellowed whiskey. This lucrative position enabled it in 1933 to acquire 20 percent of Schenley, whose product line included the well-known Golden Wedding brand of rye whiskey. When Sam Bronfman informed the Distillers Company board in Scotland of the move and requested an increase in whiskey prices, he was told at an acrimonious board meeting that Distillers would not agree to either proposal. In response, the Bronfman brothers raised $4 million and bought out the Distillers Company's holding in Distillers Corporation-Seagrams Limited. W. H. Ross resigned after the split, and Sam Bronfman became president.
The company then purchased the Rossville Union Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, and set up Joseph E. Seagram & Sons Inc. to operate the U.S. venture. Schenley's board of directors suggested an equal partnership in the American operation, but when Sam Bronfman found out that Golden Wedding was not aged before it was sold, he immediately rejected the plan. Soon afterward, Seagram and Schenley parted company. Schenley held the top position in the whiskey market until 1937, lost it to Seagram until 1944, regained it until 1947, then lost it to Seagram for good.
Blending and aging became Seagram's hallmark

My relatives didn't remain with Seagrams/Rossville they built The James Walsh Distillery at Probasco and Nowlin streets. I remember seeing a stock certificate on-line from Rossville so there is some memorabilia out there.

Mark O'Shaughnessy
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Re: Rossville Distillery

Unread postby bunghole » Wed Sep 16, 2009 4:39 pm

Pardon me, but I think my knickers may be showing.

Carry On.

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Knickers. Not Snickers. Unless you snicker at knickers.

That will be all.

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