Old Overholt is the oldest brand of American whiskey. This makes the Old Overholt rye whiskey one of the most appreciated whiskeys, even by important American figures, such as President Abraham Lincoln. Given the fact that Old Overholt has been around since 1810, it goes without saying that it stands for old-fashioned values and customs.
Its history is – to say the least – interesting.
In this overview, we’ll examine how its past is still a measure for current success.
In today’s brief guide to the rye whiskey Old Overholt, we’ll be focusing on what this type of whiskey stands for and what makes this family business so special compared to other whiskey businesses.
Old Overholt Rye: A Symbol of Excellency and Old Values
Henry Oberholtzer (Overholt)
The story of the Old Overholt rye starts with Henry Overholt (an anglicized version of Oberholtzer), who settled in Western Pennsylvania with his family in 1800. He was 61-year-old at the time, but he immediately set to farming in the new land. He was a German Mennonite farmer, which means he was also a distiller. However, unlike other distillers, who would use everything they could distill, Henry Overholt was also a German Methodist. This means that he was used to distilling rye, which he did. Then, he and his family built a still-house and started producing whiskey. At the beginning, they produced small amounts, depending on the grains they had.
Even if Henry was the one who started the still-house that gave birth to the now famous Old Overholt rye whiskey, it was Abraham, his second-youngest son, who turned the still-house into a real business. Even if the business was still small, Abraham put in a lot of time and effort into helping it grow. The distilling process was one of his main concerns. With his help, rye whiskey was transitioning from a rough drink to a drink that you would expect to find in a New York smoking room or clubhouse.
The Overholt business was gaining more and more momentum, and in 1832, Abraham decided to rebuild the distillery and make it out of stone. Moreover, he also expanded its capacity. By 1841, you could read about their whiskey in papers in Baltimore. If this doesn’t sound unusual, we should explain it was. At that time, other whiskey manufacturers and distillers weren’t familiar with the practice of advertising their products in the paper. Furthermore, you had to have an extremely good reputation for newspapers to advertise you like this.
A Family Business
One of the main reasons why Old Overholt rye stands for old-fashioned values is because Henry Overholt built it from the very beginning as a family business.
Abraham wanted to involve his family as much as possible as well.
Two of his sons were part of the business, as well as some grandsons and sons-in-law. The business grew so much that not even The Civil War could hurt it.
After the death of Abraham, the business went through a period of confusion regarding ownership. However, it eventually settled down again in 1881, at the hands of one of Abraham’s grandsons.
We hope this brief guide to the old-fashioned values this family business stands for has provided you with a closer look at the Old Overholt rye whiskey and its fascinating history.
Image Source: TheWhiskeyWash.