It’s never too early to start thinking about the Christmas selling season for your distilled and craft spirits. Walk into any major retail store these days and one isle over from that Freddie Krueger Halloween mask will be a beautiful twinkling Christmas tree featuring the latest in pre-installed 20 year LED lights – ’tis the season!
Getting ready for the holiday buying season is nothing new. Bernie Lubbers was able to dig up a letter dated November 24, 1909 where the Old Grand-Dad Distillery Co. was letting its customers know to order early so as not to come up empty handed during the Christmas buying season. And, yes, they do talk about Christmas, the phrase “Holiday Season” didn’t exist.
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Our friend Bernie Lubbers, author of Bourbon Whiskey Our Native Spirit, 3rd Edition shared this bit of whiskey history with us.
I think everyone knows that Bottled In Bond whiskies hold a special place in my heart. Not only was the Bottled In Bond Act of 1897 the first consumer protection legislation in the history of the United States, it probably saved straight whiskies from the rectifiers and blenders. In other words, if it wasn’t for Bottled In Bond, we might all be drinking Seagrams 7 today.
When the BIB Act was passed in 1897, the distilleries had to educate bartenders, customers and the consumers on just what it was. I came across a letter from O.H. Wathen from 1909. They distilled Old Grand Dad Whiskey, and he is informing one of his distributors, Mesars, Bateman-Switzer Co. (and I assume duplicate letters to other distributors were sent at the same time) that the demand for their Old Grand Dad B.I.B. and other B.I.B. private label was great, and if they wanted delivery for the “Christmas trade” it would be “well for you to favor us with your order now for the amounts you would want…”
Here’s the letter along with the complete text below the image.
Nov-24th 1909 Gentlemen, We wish to advise that the demand we have been having for our OLD GRAND DAD B.I.B. under our label, and under private labels of our customers, has been so very heavy in the last sixty days that we have been unable to fill the orders as promptly as is customary with us; therefore, we are writing to inform you that, should you desire any of our goods to be B.I.B. under our label, or yours, for your Christmas trade, it would be well for you to favor us with your order now for the amounts you would want, even though you would not care to have shipment made until after Dec 1st, for by having the orders now it will enable us to get the shipments out on the date you desire. Hoping, therefore, if interested, that we will have the pleasure of hearing from you at an early date, and with our best wishes, we are, Very truly yours, OLD GRAND DAD DISTILLERY CO. BY OH Wathen
Happy selling! Oh, and those 20 year LED lights, who keeps receipts that long?