The distillery has recreated five historic whiskeys that existed during one of America’s most unique time periods: Prohibition
Buffalo Trace Distillery has announced the release of The Prohibition Collection, an annual and limited-edition, multi-bottle collection that honors the whiskeys that were legally produced and sold at the distillery during Prohibition.
Previously known as the George T. Stagg Distillery, the debut release tributes five Prohibition era-brands that had previously disappeared: Old Stagg, Golden Wedding, Three Feathers, Walnut Hill and George T. Stagg Spiritus Frumenti.
From 1920 to 1933, the production, sale and transportation of alcohol was banned in the United States due to the ratification of the 18th amendment to the United States Constitution, an era known as Prohibition. Purchasing alcohol was only legal with a medical prescription. At the time, many doctors believed spirits to be a cure for a wide variety of ailments. As such, the US Government granted licenses to six distilleries to bottle medicinal whiskey: one of those distilleries was the George T. Stagg Distillery in Frankfort, KY. Known today as Buffalo Trace Distillery, it is the longest continually-operating distillery in America.
The inaugural Prohibition Collection features five whiskeys, each created in tribute to a historic brand that was housed at the Buffalo Trace Distillery site during Prohibition:
• Old Stagg, a barrel-proof (132.4 proof), uncut and unfiltered whiskey. Old Stagg was originally created in honor of former owner George T. Stagg and replaced O.F.C. Bourbon as the Distillery’s flagship brand. Today, the brand lives on as Stagg and George T. Stagg, both barrel proof whiskeys that have their roots in this Prohibition era brand.
• Golden Wedding, a 107-proof rye whiskey. The brand, which dates back to 1869, was originally produced by Schenley Distilling at the Joseph S. Finch Distillery in Pennsylvania. During Prohibition, its bottling was split between Schenley’s Pennsylvania distillery and the George T. Stagg Distillery. In the late 1940’s, the brand was moved to Schenley’s distillery in Canada and would become a Canadian whiskey before ceasing to exist in the late 20th century.
• Three Feathers, a 100-proof, bottled-in-bond whiskey created by Buffalo Trace master blender Drew Mayville. Dating back to at least 1812, Three Feathers was first advertised as a luxurious rye before becoming a bonded and then a blended whiskey.
• Walnut Hill, a 90-proof high-rye bourbon. This historic spirit was bottled by the George T. Stagg Distillery during Prohibition with production overseen by President Albert Blanton.
• George T. Stagg Distillery Spiritus Frumenti, a 110-proof wheated bourbon honoring the medicinal whiskey produced at the George T. Stagg Distillery. “Spiritus Frumenti,” which translates as “Spirit of the Grain” in Latin, existed as a generic name for medicinal whiskey during Prohibition.
“We stand behind our motto, ‘Honor Tradition, Embrace Change’,” says Harlen Wheatley, Buffalo Trace master distiller. “Each of these brands disappeared slowly in the years after Prohibition, but they were integral to our survival. Without them, today there would be no Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare or Weller bourbons. The Prohibition Collection is a tribute to these great whiskeys from our past.”
“At Buffalo Trace Distillery, we build brands based on real, authentic stories firmly rooted in the rich history of excellent whiskey making in America,” says Andrew Duncan, global brand director for Buffalo Trace Distillery. “When we discovered these brands – and others – in our distillery’s history, we could not wait to bring them back to life and tell their stories again. By aging and selling barrels from numerous distilleries all over the country, the Buffalo Trace Distillery site played a key role in keeping American Whiskey alive during one of the most unique periods in the history of the spirits industry.”
The Prohibition Collection will be rolling out in limited quantities to its distributor network, which will ship to select retailers, bars and restaurants across the United States as of October 2023 at a suggested retail price of $999.99 (five 375ml bottles); state taxes will vary per market.
For more information, please visit https://www.buffalotracedistillery.com/our-brands/prohibition-collection.html.