This image from the October 1938 issue of the Schenley newsletter, Remarks of Merit. It is an edited photograph of the Old Quaker Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Indiana that has been altered so as not to show the Seagram Distillery located right next to Old Quaker. It is still an interesting image in that it shows the distillery and its campus as it existed in 1938.
The history of this distillery goes back to 1807 to partners, Dunn and Ludlow, who founded a distillery in the valley of Tanners Creek where it entered the Ohio River in Dearborn County, Indiana. They were making two barrels a week at their distillery. Sixty years later, in 1867, Dunn and Ludlow were no longer distilling and Kosmos Fredrick and his partners W.P and G.W. Squibb chose the site of the former Dunn and Ludlow distillery to build a new distillery. The Squibb brothers had been rectifiers in the Indiana town of Aurora since 1846. This partnership lasted until 1871. Fredrick sold his share of the distillery to the Squibb brothers and went on to found another distillery nearby.
The Lawrenceburg distillery became the William P. Squibb & Co. Distillery at that time. Their brands were Chimney Corner and Old Dearborn. They also fed cattle from the spent mash and the oldest building on the site in 1938, was the warehouse office – a stone building that had once served as a slaughterhouse with refrigeration in the 19th century.
In 1885 the distillery was expanded and a column still became part of the operation. In 1913, the two Squibb brothers both died and their seven sons took over the plant. Four of William P.’s and one of G.W.’s sons formed a company in 1914 and rebuilt the distillery. The plant was finished just in time for wartime prohibition, requiring them to produce high proof alcohol for the war. They continued to bottle their brands until the onset of national Prohibition, but closed down operations in January 1920.
The barrels of whiskey owned by the Squibb family ended up in Schenley’s consolidation warehouses. By the end of Prohibition, Schenley had purchased the distillery and upon repeal, they started investing in improvements and expansion of the distillery. In 1938, this image shows it as one of Schenley’s largest distilleries. Schenley registered the distillery as DSP No.2 – Indiana after repeal. It mashed 6,395 bushels per day. There were sixteen warehouses with a total capacity of 700,000 barrels. They had a new bottling house containing eleven bottling lines with a daily capacity of 20,000 cases. It truly was a huge distillery at that time.
The Old Quaker Distillery was closed down in the late 1980s when Schenley became part of what was to become United Distillers. The property and buildings were later purchased by some former United Distillers executives who started a bottling operation there. They failed to make a profit and ended up selling the property to M.G.P., who still use the warehouses and bottling lines to this day.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller