Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Heartland Is Not Indiana's First Distillery Since Prohibition

Terlato Wines, which is based in Lake Bluff, Illinois, announced today that it will jointly produce and market a collection of luxury American craft spirits with Indiana-based Heartland Distillers. The new offerings, it says, will join Terlato’s growing Artisan Spirits portfolio.

The first product from the Terlato and Heartland partnership will be Prohibition Gin, expected to launch late this year at around $30 a bottle. A bourbon and another whiskey of some un-named type, under the Spring Mill brand (around $40), are slated to follow in 2015.

Terlato's press release claims that Heartland, founded in Indianapolis in 2008, is "Indiana’s first distillery since Prohibition ended in 1933."

It most certainly is not.

The Indiana distillery now known as MGP of Indiana operated before, during, and after Prohibition and is still operating today. It's a big plant and although it is pretty close to the Ohio River, it is definitely on the Indiana side.

Two other distilleries in the Greendale-Lawrenceburg area merged and came back after Prohibition as the Old Quaker Distillery (Schenley), which closed in the 1980s, and at least one completely new distillery opened there as well post-Prohibition.

The Krogman Distillery in Tell City, Indiana, came back after Prohibition, was acquired by Park and Tilford in 1941, and operated until at least the 1960s. Several different members of the Beam family were distillers there.

The Heartland website says "first new distillery," ostensibly to take the above-mentioned out of the running, but all of the distilleries that came back after Prohibition were new, as little remained from 1917, the last year in which distillation of spirits was legal. At least one of the Greendale-Lawrenceburg plants, the James Walsh & Company Distillery, was 100 percent new. The distillery that bore that name before Prohibition came back as Seagram's, but the previous owners used the proceeds of that sale to build a new distillery under the Walsh name.

The Heartland website doesn't appear to have been touched since about 2012. Since then, co-founder Matt Golglazier has departed. It's all Stuart Hobson now, who says in the Terlato release that he looks "forward to collaborating with the Terlato family and their team to produce products that speak to the terroir and history of Indiana distillation."

Let's hope he doesn't mean the fake history they're leading with.


Anonymous said...

More recently, Starlight Distillery released their first brandy in 2004, according to their website. They don't make whiskey that I know of, but they're definitely a licensed distillery in Indiana.

Michael Dietsch said...

Even if their definition of "new" is accurate, their claim is still false:


Chuck Cowdery said...

I'm embarrassed that I didn't think of Starlight myself, as I have been there several times, and before 2008 too. Thanks for the help.

Matthew Rowley said...

Chuck ~ Thanks for this. There are a lot of chestnuts and outright lies afloat in modern spirits-pushing but "________'s first distillery since Prohibition" chaps my ass harder than most. It's lazy writing, rarely true, and...not really that interesting. So what, distilleries? That's all you've got to hang your hat on? Of equal interest: Today is the first Wednesday since last week. That Courvoisier we had last night was the first brandy we've had since Monday's bonded apple brandy. These Red Wings are the first boots to grace my feet since the old Carolina steel tip loggers finally gave up the ghost. "First distillery since Prohibition" was never a good hook and now it's played out.

Chuck Cowdery said...

NOTE: Terlato has 'corrected' its release in response to this post. Click on the link above to read the new version.