Dougherty’s Private Stock Pure Rye Whiskey 13 Summers Old 1916 – 1930

DOUGHERTY'S PRIVATE STOCK PURE RYE WHISKEY 13 SUMMERS OLD 1916 - 1930

SPIRIT: Rye

VOLUME: 1 Pint

ABV/PROOF: 50/100

AGE:  “13 summers”

Dougherty’s is among the best known and relatively easiest to find among Prohibition-era whiskeys today, largely because it was among the best-selling whiskeys of its day. 

The distillery began in about 1849 as John A. Dougherty & Son, founded by an Irish immigrant and his son Charles along the Delaware River in Philadelphia. John’s other son, William, joined later, necessitating a name change to John A. Dougherty & Sons, and after his death in 1866, it became J.A. Dougherty’s Sons, which remained in place, through the generations, until the brand was sold off during Prohibition.

Like most Pennsylvania distilleries, Dougherty made rye in the Monongahela style, without corn and on a wooden still, though eventually it upgraded its distilling equipment to all copper. It was broadly popular, and over the decades the distillery expanded significantly, adding more stills, workers and enough warehouse space to hold 25,000 barrels.

During Prohibition the company’s warehouses, being among the largest collection in Pennsylvania, were used as concentration facilities. Companies with licenses to sell medicinal whiskey would buy up aged stocks from those that didn’t, then store them at central warehouses. Strangely, for all the government oversight of the era, it was surprisingly chaotic when it came to bottling – whiskey from any distillery might end up in any brand, and indeed, Dougherty bottles contained whiskey from the Overholt distillery and others. This bottle is noteworthy in that it contains whiskey from the Dougherty distillery itself, and that it wasn’t bottled until 1930 – evidence, perhaps, that distilleries did not rush to bottle their best whiskey early into Prohibition, but kept stocks of it on hand in case the law was repealed.

Release: Dougherty’s Private Stock Pure Rye Whiskey

Producer: J.A. Dougherty & Sons

Misc.: Like some other whiskeys at the time, this one has an age statement listed by “summers” spent in a barrel; an odd affectation that allowed them in some cases to stretch the age by a year – 13 summers might not equal 13 full years.

Collectors’ tips: While bottles of Dougherty’s might be relatively easy to find, those with Dougherty’s whiskey inside them – like this one – are not.

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