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The Willow Springs Distillery
RD #1, Nebraska
Douglas County, NE

(Est. 1866)

"This mammoth distillery first began its existence in Omaha, in 1866, as a little one-horse concern that had been brought here from Iowa, by J. C. McCoy, and in his hands it remained until 1869, when, owing to default in payment of the revenue tax, it was seized by the government authorities, and in the same year, was sold by the government; James G. McGrath and P. Iler becoming the purchasers.

Two years afterward, in 1871, it was incorporated under its present name. The capacity of the distillery at this time was about 300 bushels of grain per day, or a daily production of about 1,200 gallons of spirits.

For the last year the production was 1,250,000 gallons, or a daily product of between 6,000 and 7,000 gallons, in which the annual consumption of grain was 300,000 bushels. Of this amount, about 225,000 bushels was corn, and the balance of 75,000 bushels was made up of other grains. The value of the grain consumed amounted to $120,000. The total sales for the past year amounted to $1,110,000 on which the revenue tax was $826,000.

One thousand and six hundred head of cattle are now being fattened from the refuse from the distillery. About eighty men are regularly employed in all the departments, and the pay roll shows a monthly outlay of over $5,000 for wages. The entire value of the works is estimated at $250,000. Of this amount $125,000 is invested in buildings, lots, machinery, etc.; $60,000 is manufactured goods on hand; $30,000 in grain in store; $10,000 in cooperage stock, and the remaining $25,000 is invested in various other appliances connected with the business.

The entire establishment covers about six acres of ground, including all the necessary buildings belonging to it. Their products are alcohol, spirits, gins, pure rye and bourbon whiskeys, sour and sweet mash, which have a wide reputation for their excellent and superior qualities. The manufactory turns out none except finished goods, and with their new and thoroughly complete improvements, are enabled to make as fine a grade of spirits as can be produced anywhere in the United States. There were exported during the year 1881, 177,214 gallons of spirits."
(from: "Andreas' History of the State of Nebraska", 1882).

"The Willow Springs Distillery having been confiscated by the government, was offered for sale in 1870, and it was bought in the name of James G. Megeath and P. E. ller, the partners in this enterprise being Megeath, Iler and John McCormick.

In 1872-3 the distillery became the property of P. E. Iler, J. D. Iler, and M. W. Kennard, the last named gentleman remaining in the firm until 1878, when he sold out to his partners.

In 1885 Mr. Henry Suessenbach became a partner.

The distillery has been enlarged from year to year and improved in every way to meet the demands of trade, and today it is the third largest distillery in the country. Its present capacity is 12,000 gallons of finished goods per day. The increase of business is shown by the following figures: In 1878 the government tax was nearly $150,000, in 1879 it increased to $721,000, and it is now over $2,000,000.

The sales of the Willow Springs Distillery and Iler & Co., combined, have increased in the same ratio -- from $500,000 per annum to nearly $3,000,000.

The cost of material used in the distillery during 1886 was $250,000, representing 510,000 bushels of grain. Over 10,000 tons of coal were consumed. Employment is given to 125 men. The annual pay-roll is over $80,000.
(from: "Omaha Illustrated", D. C. Dunbar & Co., Publishers, 1888).

Review bonded warehouse transactions for this distillery

Internal Revenue recorded warehouse transactions for The Willow Springs Distillery as follows:
( explain: origin of these records, letter codes )

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