Everything you need to know about the most popular bourbon whiskey on the shelves today. This time: Old Fitzgerald Bourbon, a 150 year old brand of bourbon with a confusing past.
What is old Fitzgerald Bourbon?
A very old brand of bourbon. Launched in 1870, the label has a whimsical (and possibly apocryphal) origin history like most brands of whiskey. Today, it’s better known as Premium Wheat Bourbon – a bourbon that uses wheat instead of rye as the flavoring grain in mashbill – which is presented in a beautiful crystal decanter. The brand has gone through several different owners over the past 150 years, with the family owned Heaven Hill Distillery currently holding the rights. For the most part, the whiskey is between 8 and 14 years old. Due to its affiliation with the Stitzel-Weller Distillery, the Van Winkle family (more on this shortly), and its somewhat lower price, it is often considered a more affordable version of the Pappy Van Winkle bourbon.
While most think of Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond when they hear the name Fitzgerald, it’s worth mentioning a lower proof, much less premium version of the Spirit called Old Fitzgerald Prime which you can buy for around $ 15. in a handful of states. Heaven Hill doesn’t allocate any advertising or marketing budget to it, however, and it’s not particularly noticeable for some reason other than the name on the bottle.
Who makes the Old Fitzgerald Bourbon?
The mark was sold by its original owners to Julian P. Van Winkle during Prohibition. After Van Winkle’s supply of whiskey (which included stocks from the WL Weller & Sons Stitzel Distillery) for medicinal purposes deteriorated, he and Arthur Stitzel opted to use what was allegedly an old recipe. family to replenish their stocks. This recipe substituted rye for wheat, which is the most commonly accepted origin story for the wheat bourbon craze these days (remember: Pappy is wheat bourbon).
70 years later, the Heaven Hill Distillery, owned by the Shapira family, purchased the brand and production rights and has been manufacturing them ever since.
Where to buy old Fitzgerald Bourbon?
The whiskey is sold in batches twice a year, once in the fall and again in the spring. So, you are most likely to catch bottles at the liquor store around these releases.
The best way to land a bottle (legally) is to build a relationship with your local liquor store by frequenting the store, chatting with employees, and asking them what product delivery windows are allocated. If you are a good customer you have a better opportunity, it is that easy. Cold liquor stores in your area are generally frowned upon, although we have heard stories of how the shotgun approach works.
Your final option is to resort to online whiskey gray markets (which are really just black markets, as peer-to-peer alcohol sales are illegal). Read more here.
How much does Old Fitzgerald cost?
Depending on the release date of the bottle you’re buying and the age of the liquid, you’re probably looking between $ 250 and $ 500 a bottle. It should be noted that some bottles sell well above this range, especially those old enough to have been made in Stitzel-Weller.
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