cowdery wrote:One thing it suggests is that Continental did not have a bottling house and Pennco did. Either that, or both had bottling facilities but Pennco was a more desirable aging location. Obviously, it also show some sort of relationship between Pennco and Continental, though what that relation was would be speculation.
Although I readily admit that many of my suggestions about Michter's are speculative (as are yours, Gary's, Michael Jackson's, or anyone's), the information on the Penn Esquire label about Pennco's relationship to Continental is not. On bonded whiskey bottled before the early '80s, that back label is a legally required statement by the marketer of the product, not just advertising hype. It makes it very clear that the bottler was Pennco Distillers, which could have been a fictitious "DBA"-type name, but we know it was not, because they were indeed the operators of bonded warehouse #17 in Schaefferstown. The label is also required to state that the bourbon was distilled by Continental at their Philadelphia distillery (DSP-1-PA) and not at Schaefferstown. Otherwise, as with the "86" brand, they would not have mentioned it.
Continental Distillers (for those who, apparently like Chuck, haven't read our page on that distillery) was the name used by the Publicker Corporation for their beverage alcohol operations. Publicker/Continental was perhaps the largest producer of ethyl alcohol on earth at the time we're speaking of, and they certainly had no need to contract with some tiny, insignificant firm out in Pennsylvania Dutch country to store or bottle their whiskey. They were bottling several brands in Philadelphia and Linfield; some of those were bottled-in-bond straight bourbon.
Pennco also were bottling several brands, but none of those appear to have been straight whiskey, let alone bonded. I have not seen real evidence that ANY straight whiskey was ever distilled at Schaefferstown, have you? Of course SPECULATION would indicate that all that equipment must have been used for SOMETHING (unless it was only for GNS?).
Continental Distillers was, in reality, similar to what some writers used to dismiss Heaven Hill as - a reputable company capable of producing really fine whiskey that would also gladly bottle their bulk whiskey for anyone's brand who'll pay for it. Pennco certainly could have contracted with Continental to provide whiskey that met BIB requirements for their Penn Esquire label (as I feel MIGHT have been the case with Michter's Jug House... except without the BIB requirements), but if they were an operating distillery that doesn't seem to be likely. It would be as if Four Roses, which owns the Henry McKenna distribution outside the United States, contracted with Heaven Hill to distill the whiskey for it (they don't, by the way; overseas H.McK., from Lawrenceburg, tastes quite different from domestic McKenna from Bardstown). No, I can't accept the logic of a claim that Continental was a vendor to Pennco.
And that leaves only one alternative. Namely that Pennco was, itself, a subsidiary of Continental, as was Linfield. As was Finch, Montebello, East Penn, Pennsylvania Distilling, Dickel, and Lord knows how many others for Schenley.
So's whether the sun's coming up tomorrow.