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Est. 1823.

Offices at 408-410 South (salesroom) & (1876-1911); 700-701 Passyunk Ave (1876-1918); & 614 S Leithgow (1913-1915).

Alexander Young (b. Aug. 26, 1798) was a native of County Derry, Ireland. He arrived in the US on July 15, 1821. He already had some knowledge of the malt distillery business, but desirous to learn the art of extracting whiskey from raw grain, he went into J. W. Dower's (Dover's?) distillery on the Schuylkill river, between Race and Vine streets. He paid $50 in cash for this instruction, plus his services for many months. After working in a subordinate position for one year, he had saved money sufficient to purchase a small still, and commenced business for himself. The location was reported to be at 5th & Alaska (Alaska was renamed Kanter St in 1897).

After a year, Young went into partnership with John Maitland, and for two years they produced a very pure and excellent kind of "malt whiskey." They also distilled New England rum from molasses. They were the first firm that discovered the process by which an immense increase of spirit was obtained from the grain, producing 14 quarts of whiskey from 56lb of grain.

In 1825 there stood at the corner of 4th and South Sts a large building used as a theatre ("Old South St Theatre", formerly "The Apollo"), but as the population moved towards the western and northern part of the city, it was closed and rented to Pat. Lyons, another distinguished Irishman, who used it for a hay press. In the fall of 1825, John Maitland bought the building and converted it for use as a distillery at a cost of $20,000. With Young as foreman, they continued their their former business on a larger scale. They continued in this way for 12 years, making important discoveries and improvements in the business.

In 1837, John Maitland's son, William J. Maitland, replaced his father as partner Young's partner, and the business continued together until the death of Maitland, in 1847. Although successful, the business had not paid enough to make the deceased partner a man of wealth.

Upon the death of his partner, Young bought out the establishment for $20,000 (the sum which John Maitland had orgiginally spent on it). Young at once began to enlarge and improve the facility, spending in a few years over $60,000 on the building and machinery, and adding every improvement and extension that could add to the value of the establishment or the facilities for the business. He had an artesian well dug on the premises to provide 70 gallons per minute of pure water for distilling purposes.

Alexander Young died in November 1884 and the distillery was left in the hands of his sons for the next three years. In 1887 a corporation was formed to run the plant. It consisted of Lewis T Young (President, Alexander's youngest son), Richard Young, (VP), Wilson Young (Secretary and Treasurer, Alexander's elder son), James P Young and Mrs Lavinia T Davison (Alexander's daughter).

The company ceases listing in city directories in 1921, a victim of Prohibition. In the 1950's the company's flagship brand, Young's Special American Blended Whiskey, was purchased by Kasser Distillers Products Corp. at 3rd & Luzerne Streets in Philadelphia. The Young plant was closed and the brand bottled by Kasser until October 1989. The brand was then sold to Laird & Co. of Scobeyville, NJ.

See more about the distillery.

Biographies of Successful Philadelphia Merchants, Stephen N Winslow, 1864, pp. 166-167
History of Philadelphia 1806-1884, J Thomas Scharf and Thompson Westcott, 1884, Vol III., p. 2282
Philadelphia and Popular Philadelphians, The North American, 1891, p. 236
David Young, 2006-2009, personal communication

The company used the brand names:
"Y. P. M. ", "Y. P. M. ", "Young's Blue Grass", and "Young's Masterpiece."

Business name timeline:
Alexander Young (1847-1886), Alexander Young Co. Ltd. (1889-1908), Alexander Young Distilling Co Ltd (1909-1913), Alexander Young Distilling Co., (1911), Alexander Young Distilling Co. Inc. (1915-1918)

Address timeline:
408-410 South (salesroom 1870-1911), 700-701 Passyunk Ave (1870-1918), & 614 S Leithgow (1913-1915)

The distillery and sales offices, ca.1880

Business category timeline (abbreviations decoded below):
V (1876) W (1877) D R (1870)

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

The images below are thumbnails linked to listing pages containing larger, more detailed images and links to related material.
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no date

no date

c. 1893

Appearance in directories:
1860, 1865, 1870, 1871, 1872, 1873, 1874, 1875, 1877, 1878, 1880, 1881, 1882, 1883, 1884, 1885, 1886, 1889, 1890, 1891, 1892, 1893, 1894, 1895, 1896, 1897, 1898, 1899, 1900, 1901, 1902, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1907, 1908, 1909, 1910, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1915, 1916, 1917, 1918, 1919, 1921, x1925

Directories consulted:
1870, 1871, 1872, 1873, 1874, 1875, 1876, 1877, 1878, 1880, 1881, 1882, 1883, 1884, 1885, 1886, 1889, 1890, 1891, 1892, 1893, 1894, 1895, 1896, 1897, 1898, 1899, 1900, 1901, 1902, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1906, 1907, 1908, 1909, 1910, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1915, 1916, 1917, 1918

Philadelphia directory notes:
V= Wine & Liquor (Wholesale), V-R = Wine & Liquor (Retail), W = Whiskey (Wholesale), L = Liquors (Wholesale) D = Distiller, DA = distiller's agent

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