InternationalWhisk(e)y Day is coming up on March 27 and World Whisky Day is on May 16 (it takes place on the third Saturday of May each year). This is a great time to learn about whiskey in Chemung County. We have three local whiskey bottles here in the museum’s collection – Land Lord Whiskey, Old Lowman Whiskey, and Macmore Whiskey.
In 1792, Jacob Lowman set up a distillery on a parcel of land on the Chemung River in what is now Lowman. It was the first commercial distillery in the county, producing whiskey from mixed mash of rye and corn. Some years later, George Lowman operated a distillery on Baldwin Creek producing Old Lowman Whiskey using the same recipe Jacob used. The distillery operated until the Civil War when high taxes forced the business to close.
In 1902, Edward Lowman, Fred Ferris, Fred L. Thomas, and Nathan Blostein incorporated the Old Lowman Distilling Company to manufacture, supply, and deal in whiskey and other alcoholic liquors. The company’s headquarters were in Elmira, and the distillery was in a converted creamery in Lowman near the Delaware and Lackawanna Railroad tracks. Jacob Lowman’s original recipe was used to make the whiskey.
|Old Lowman Distillery and Warehouse|
Image from “Hardwood Bark,” the magazine of Cotton-Hnlon and Ireland Mill, May-June 1973
|Ferris’s store with Fred himself standing at the corner, early 1900s|
In 1907, after 18 years working for J.J. O’Connor wholesale liquor, Michael E. McElligott opened his own wholesale liquor business at 111 Railroad Avenue in Elmira. One of his products was Macmore Whiskey.
|Macmore Whiskey promotional tray|
|Advertisement from the Star-Gazette, December 18, 1911|
Land Lord Whiskey
Around 1914, James G. McLaughlin and John R. Flynn opened their wholesale liquor business at the corner of Fox and Carroll Streets in Elmira. There they sold Land Lord Whiskey, among other things.
|Land Lord Whiskey bottle|
Whiskey and Churches??
Finally, in my research, I found two interesting connections between these liquor companies and local churches that I just had to share. First connection: After the Old Lowman Distilling Company closed in 1918, Edward Lowman had the warehouse torn down. He then donated the lumber to the Lowman M.E. Church, and it was used to build a community hall. And the second connection: When renovations were being done on the Park Church in 1958, a bottle of Macmore Whiskey was found inside one of the walls there.