Michter's-LogoMichters, Kentucky

 

Their Story

LEGACY

Michter’s is proud to honor a historical legacy tracing back to the founding of America’s first whiskey company in 1753.

THE EARLY YEARS: REVOLUTIONARY RYE IN SCHAEFFERSTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA

Originally known as Shenk’s and later as Bomberger’s, the whiskey company which ultimately became known as Michter’s was founded by John Shenk, a Swiss Mennonite farmer, in Schaefferstown, Pennsylvania in 1753. In its earliest days, Shenk’s produced whiskey from rye grain, a favorite local crop in the Pennsylvania Blue Mountain Valley where the distillery was located. According to Pennsylvania historical lore, commemorated by the Lebanon Valley Coin Club in 1978, this particular rye whiskey was so valued that when the Revolutionary War broke out, General George Washington visited the distillery and purchased whiskey to fortify his men as they hunkered down in their camp through the long, brutal winter at Valley Forge. Over 200 years later the Michter’s Pennsylvania management would say Michter’s was “the whiskey that warmed the American Revolution.” In the mid-1800s, Pennsylvania Dutchman Abraham Bomberger purchased the distillery from the Shenk family, and the distillery became known for many decades as Bomberger’s.

MIDLIFE CRISES OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY: FROM PROHIBITION TO BANKRUPTCY

The passage of Prohibition in 1919 forced the distillery, along with other American spirits producers, to shut its doors to the public. Although the distillery did reopen after the repeal of Prohibition, it changed hands many times over the next few decades and frequently occupied a precarious financial position. During the 1950s, Lou Forman, one of the distillery’s then-owners, created the modern Michter’s brand name by combining portions of his sons’ names – Michael and Peter.In 1989, with the entire American whiskey industry suffering a prolonged downturn, Michter’s then-owners declared bankruptcy and abandoned the premises, leaving its Pennsylvania operations in disrepair and the Michter’s name – seemingly – lost to history … were it not for a fortuitous connection to two whiskey lovers with an abiding admiration for the old Michter’s legacy and quality.

RESTORING A LEGEND: HONORING MICHTER’S LEGACY WITH A RESURGENCE IN KENTUCKY

In the 1990s, Joseph J. Magliocco and his consultant and mentor Richard “Dick” Newman teamed up to resurrect Michter’s. Magliocco, who entered the wine and spirits industry after attending Yale College and graduating from Harvard Law School, was intimately familiar with Michter’s through his college days of imbibing and bartending and later through his work selling Michter’s in New York. Newman meanwhile, had followed up his service in the US Marine Corps (for which he earned a Purple Heart) with an illustrious career in the whiskey business, eventually running Old Grand-Dad, Old Crow, and Old Taylor for National Distillers before becoming President and CEO of Austin Nichols, the distiller of Wild Turkey. Magliocco and Newman began with a simple strategy – to honor the Michter’s legacy by producing the best whiskey possible, cost be damned! After filing for the unused and abandoned Michter’s trademark, they made their first major strategic decision: to resurrect Michter’s in Kentucky, in the heart of the modern American whiskey industry, to ensure access to the best whiskey talent and resources available.

MODERN-DAY MICHTER’S: OFFERING THE GREATEST AMERICAN WHISKEY

Today, Michter’s has two locations in Kentucky – its 67,000 square foot M2 Distillery situated on 7.5 acres in the Shively section of Louisville and, currently under renovation, the architecturally significant, landmark Fort Nelson Building in downtown Louisville. The M2 distillery features a custom made 46 foot high, 32 inch diameter copper column still and a 250 gallon pot still doubler, both built by legendary Louisville still maker Vendome. It is also the current home of the 1976 pot still system and cypress wood fermenters originally used to produce whiskey at the previous Michter’s Distillery in Schaefferstown, Pennsylvania. This system is slated for eventual installation at Michter’s M1 Distillery.

Michter’s Distillery is headed up by a team that includes its President Joseph J. Magliocco, Master Distiller-Executive Vice President Willie Pratt, Executive Vice President Connie Kam, Distiller-Vice President Pamela Heilmann, Vice President- General Manager Andrea Wilson, Distiller Glenn Glaser, Vice President-Sales Steve Ziegler, Vice President-Global Sales Matthew Magliocco, CFO Brandon Breunig, and Director of Marketing Lillie O’Connell.

In 2015, Michter’s was named the seventh Heritage Member of the Kentucky Distillers Association, thereby becoming the first distiller in 33 years to achieve that status.