Bottle No. E260, Bottled by the Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky
In 1972, with the sale of Stitzel-Weller and its brands to Somerset (a subsidiary of Norton Simon), the Van Winkle family retained one pre-prohibition brand: Old Rip Van Winkle.
Julian Van Winkle II, Pappy’s son, started selling whiskey distilled at Stitzel-Weller under this brand. It was bottled for him at Stitzel Weller, where he also retained an office, until his death. The focus was initially on decorative decanters, but some regular glass bottles were offered also. In 1981, When Julian II. died, his son Julian III took over. Stitzel Weller’s courtesy of bottling and holding an office didn’t extend to Julian III, so in 1983 he bought the Hoffman Distillery Lawrenceburg, KY from Ben Ripy to use for offices and its bottling line, renaming it Old Commonwealth. He continued to purchase bulk whiskey for his brand from Stitzel Weller until its closure in 1992. Julian III’s son Preston joined the company in 2001. In 2002, seeing the end of Stitzel-Weller stocks to bottle, a joint venture was created with Buffalo Trace. All stocks were transferred to Buffalo Trace’s warehouses, as was the bottling operation.
Since Stitzel-Weller stopped distilling in early 1992, it’s simple subtraction to figure out when those stocks would have started running out for the different Van Winkle bottles. Some Bernheim-distilled wheated bourbon was reportedly mingled in once the Stitzel-Weller started to run out for each expression, ultimately being replaced by wheated bourbon distilled at Buffalo Trace.
This prize includes an Old Rip Vand Winkle adjustable baseball call and a copy of “Pappyland,” by Wright Thomson.