Recently my distillery, Spirits Of French Lick, released a double pot distilled white rum named Stampers Creek in honor of the distilleries in that district. We wanted to tie the distillation methodology back to the old still houses of the Southern Hoosier Hills and pay tribute to those who came before. The most fitting image we could think of was the springhouse associated with the McCoy applejack Distillery we have written of so frequently here at the Alchemist Cabinet and that is the image that now graces our bottle, much in the same vein as our Lee W Sinclair Bourbon. My brother Sean White and his very talented photographer father in law Karl Werner are responsible for capturing the image.
As you have likely deduced I enjoy paying tribute to history with distilling, reenactment, writing and labels, but I also like to take care of those who take care of me which is why bottle number one of Lee Sinclair ended up at the mausoleum with the man himself in Salem, Indiana and bottle number one of the Stampers Creek was given to the decendents of the McCoy and Wolfe family!
George B. McCoy
Cathy and Steve Qualkenbush and Scotty Hutchison came down to meet me and my brother D.J. Henderson at the McCoy household and Distillery where we shared pictures, local history, and family stories before having a celebratory shot of Stampers Creek and poured one out in honor of old George McCoy and his boys! The following Saturday they stopped by Spirits of French lick for a tour and it couldn’t have been more appropriate considering we we’re prepping the first barrels of legal apple brandy to be made in The Black Forrest section of Indiana in 104 years!
Among the picture that the family was kind enough to share with me was one of the Distillery a day after the 1912 tornado that was documented in an earlier post via the article 100 years in the McCoy Family. There are very few pictures of the many fruit distilleries in Washington, Orange, Lawrence, Harrison, Crawford, and Perry Counties pre prohibition and this is by far my favorite! If you look upstairs to the left you can see a barrel head, mid photo just left of the tree is what I presume to be a wooden fermenter, and the shingle out front is mostly legible; Registered Distillery McCoy and Co! Cathy was kind enough to have this photo professionally restored and is sending me a copy which will proudly hang in a place of honor in my living room.
Lee W. Sinclair delivered!
Betty Jean Brandenburg was kind enough to share this tidbit or oral history from New Amsterdam Indiana about a Moonshining Preacher:
Thank you for researching and writing about the production of spirits in Southern IN. Evidently a minister in the New Amsterdam area had a still. My Dad lived with his parents and they worked as tenant farmers for the Fleshman family whom owned general stores in Glidas and New Amsterdam. He often rented out himself and his team. He worked for the preacher one day plowing his field to plant corn. Dad and his team laid off a field full of rows. The preacher came and got him the next day in a hurry. He wanted Dad to bring his team and cover those rows they had laid off the day before. Evidently he (the preacher) had been tipped off that revenuers were in the area. He let his “spirit” run down the rows and Dad covered them up. Dad said the fumes almost made the team and him drunk. My cousin Charles Shireman is a great storyteller. He lives right in New Amsterdam.
Betty has also put me in contact with some New Amsterdam locals who can help me with the distilling history of that provence. Stay tuned as well for yet another Cave River Valley/Old Clifty update as I recently met up with and hiked the valley with my good friend Bill Shultze who filled in some gaps for me and provided some literature that the Wesner/Brewer facility and the Shroyer distillery we’re distinct entities and that Henry Robertson partner William Green went into business for himself distilling at Greens Cave further down the valley!