When I was working as North American Archivist for United Distillers, I was visited by a lady who was secretary to Julian Van Winkle Jr. after the war in the late 1940s. She donated to the archive a series of photographs she took while employed there. One of my favorite photographs of the collection was this image of Julian Van Winkle, Alex T. Farnsley and A. Ph. Stitzel sitting in an office, in front of a fireplace. I called it the “Big Three Photograph” because it reminded me of the photograph of Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin at the Yalta conference.
Julian Van Winkle, Sr. started in the industry as a salesman for W.L. Weller and Sons in the late 19th century. Alex T. Farnsley also joined the firm at about the same time. Together they purchased the firm in 1908. George Weller remained as President of the firm until he retired in 1920 at the beginning of Prohibition. Shortly thereafter Arthur Philip Stitzel became a business partner. Stitzel had been making whiskey for W.L. Weller and sons for several year prior to Prohibition and was the President of the A. Ph. Stitzel Distillery on Story Ave. in the Butchertown neighborhood of Louisville. Stitzel had a license to sell medicinal spirits during Prohibition and this joint venture allowed W.L. Weller and Sons to piggy-back on that license and sell spirits as well. The firm of W. L. Weller and Sons had Van Winkle as President, Farnsley as Vice President and Stitzel as Secretary-Treasurer. The Stitzel Distillery had Stitzel as President, Farnsley as Vice President and Van Winkle as Secretary-Treasurer.
After the repeal of Prohibition, the two firms officially merged to become Stitzel-Weller Distillery and built a new distillery in what became Shively, Ky., just south of Louisville in Jefferson County. Van Winkle was President and in charge of sales. Farnsley, who was also President of The Bank of St. Helens in Shively, remained as Vice President and served as the finance person for the new firm. Stitzel was also a Vice President and in charge of production. The photograph was taken in the late 1940s, after the war, and takes place in what I believe was Van Winkle’s office at Stitzel-Weller Distillery. At this time, the distillery complex was still growing and that included the office building. They were a growing company. Within a few years of this photograph, both Farnsley and Stitzel would pass away and Van Winkle would be running the company. He lived until the early 1960s and became known as “Pappy” Van Winkle to friends, family and industry peers.
Image from the archives of Michael Veach