Friday, February 20, 2009

Marion's Whiskey Distillery

Did you know at one time Marion had it's own whiskey distillery? The jug at the right is a rare treasure from this industry. The distillery was located in the building that housed the old Marion tannery. This building was where Conrad's Grocery Store is today. There was a free-flowing spring that was located close by and the tannery and later the distillery used the spring water for the manufacture of their products.

In December of 1900 the distillery of Doss, F. E. Robinson & Co. opened up and started manufacturing whiskey. The brand of their whiskey was Old Hickory. The Old Hickory Distillery produced some of the finest sour mash whiskey around. With a mash capacity of 25 bushels a day, the distillery could yield up to 112 gallons a day. One of the advertisements for this product stated that "Old Hickory is as pure as dew and is as good for medicinal purposes as fever, take home a bottle t'will keep off malaria and drive away the blues."

Some of the saloon's in Marion during this 1900-1906 period were: Doss & Co., The Victor Bar, The Palace Saloon, Eberle, Hardin & Co, and the drug stores also sold Old Hickory for medicinal purposes.

In 1906, once again, local areas had the choice of going dry or wet. The people voted to go dry. The distillery had always been a controversy as long as it was operating. After it closed it's doors, soon after the dry vote, there were no complaints about it going out of business. No legal whiskey was sold in Marion after then although it wasn't until 1919 that prohibition came into effect. The wet-dry vote has always caused a lot of controversy in Crittenden County.

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