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GLENMORE DISTILLERIES CO.
Owensboro, KY.
1889-1918
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See also Jas. Thompson & Bro., Louisville.

There appears to be no concensus on how James Thompson and the Glenmore distillery fits into the pre-pro landscape: every printed and online source gives a different version. The following knits together the common threads where substantiated by impartial government and city records:

James Thompson is reported to have been born in Londonderry, Ireland on May 5, 1855. He emigrated to the US in 1871.

In 1876, Thompson joined Brown, Chambers & Co., the company that was to become the Brown-Forman Co.

Somewhere around 1889 or 1890, Thompson leaves the company and sets up in partnership with his brother Francis P Thompson as Jas. Thompson & Bro.

In 1898, the R Monarch distillery in Owensboro (RD #24, 2 nd Dist.) enters bankruptcy.

In 1901, the Monarch distillery is put on the auction block and Jas. Thompson buys it for $30,000. It then becomes known as the Glenmore.

Downard (1980) maintains that Thompson renamed the Monarch after the castle that had stood near his home in Ireland, but Monarch had long been producing brands that included Kentucky Tavern and Glenmore at the plant. The distillery is also recorded to have been doing business as Glenmore Distilling Co. in 1889 or earlier. It is possible that Thompson & Bro already had a business relationship with the distillery before the acquisition, but regardless, the Glenmore Distilleries Co. name persisted.

Thompson's brother-in-law, H.S. Barton was made master distiller and manager, positions he held until 1919. The plant, one of the largest in the state at that time, had a capacity of 5500 bu.

When Thompson died in 1924, his sons, Col. Frank B. and James P. Thompson, assumed leadership, with Frank becoming chairman and president. The Thompsons maintained the Glenmore as a concentration warehouse, bottling and distributing medicinal whiskey during Prohibition.

Joseph A. Englehard served as president during the 1940s and 1950s. He was succeeded by Frank B. Thompson, Jr., from 1964 to 1974.

The Thompson family continued to control the company into the 1970s. with James Thompson, Frank's son, currently serving as chairman and chief executive officer. Glenmore proved a successful and durable company, its main brand being Kentucky Tavern. In 1944 the firm purchased the Yellowstone brand from the Taylor & Williams Distillery of Louisville. Glenmore has followed the lead of the large firms and markets imported whiskies and cordials through its subsidiaries, Mr. Boston, Foreign Vintages and Viking Distillery.

Read more about this company in the following article:
"Nasty Words" and Nifty Whiskeys, by Jack Sullivan

The company used the brand names:
"Doherty's Short Horn", "Doherty's Short Horn", "Eagle", "Glenmore", "Glenmore Kentucky S. M.", "K S Sour Mash", "Kent", "Ky Midland", "Tom Hardy", and "Two Naturals."

Business name timeline:
Glenmore Distilling Co. (1889), Glenmore Distilleries Co. (1909-1918)

Address timeline:
112 Frederica (1889), 1/2 mile E city, Hardinsburg Road (1909-1918)

Business category timeline (abbreviations decoded below):
D


Years that company appeared in directories
Years directories were consulted
Owensboro directory notes



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Appearance in directories:
1889, 1909, 1918

Directories consulted:
1882, 1886, 1889-1890, 1909, 1918

Owensboro directory notes:
D = distillers, W = Liquor Dealers, Wholesale. Copies include "distillers" only for most years.

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