George Dickel is a brand of Tennessee whiskey primarily distilled, mellowed, and aged in Cascade Hollow, Tennessee, near Tullahoma and bottled in Stamford, Connecticut and Canada. The brand is now owned by Diageo PLC. George Dickel's Tennessee Whisky uses the traditional Scottish spelling of whisky (as opposed to whiskey). Reportedly, this is because Dickel believed his product to be as smooth and high in quality as the best Scotch whiskies. The distillery is part of the American Whiskey Trail and offers tours to the public.
Five whiskies are produced under the George Dickel brand:
- Old No. 8 Brand with a black label, at 80 proof
- Superior No. 12 Brand with a beige label, at 90 proof
- Barrel Select Tennessee is a small batch whiskey at 86 proof
- George Dickel Rye Whisky with a green label is a rye whiskey at 90 proof (produced at MGP Indiana)
- No. 1 Foundation Recipe white corn whiskey at 91 proof
George Dickel was born in 1818. He founded a retail business in Nashville, Tennessee, in the 1850s. The Cascade Tennessee Whisky brand was first produced in 1870. The Cascade Hollow distillery was founded in 1877 by John F. Brown and F. E. Cunningham. George Dickel bought a controlling interest in the distillery in 1884. He also bought the exclusive rights to bottle and sell the whiskey. Dickel withdrew from daily operations of the distillery in 1888 and died in 1894.
After Dickel's death, his share in the company was willed to his wife, Augusta, along with the advice to sell out. Augusta opted instead to retain her share of the company until the time of her death in 1916, when George's brother-in-law and long-time business partner V. E. Shwab took over full control of the distillery. Tennessee prohibition forced distilling operations to move to Kentucky in 1910. National prohibition forced them to shut down altogether.
In 1933, national prohibition was repealed. Shwab had died in 1924, and in 1937 his family sold the Cascade trademark to the Schenley Distilling Company. In the 1940s and 1950s, Schenley's product, produced at the OFC Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky, was marketed as Geo. A. Dickel's Cascade Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky.
In 1931, Schenley attempted to buy the Jack Daniel's brand. After its offer was refused, Schenley decided instead to return one of their own brands to its roots and compete against Daniel's. In 1958, after passage of enabling legislation and a referendum, Schenley's Ralph Dupps reconstructed the Cascade Hollow distillery and the original recipe, and George Dickel Tennessee Whisky was first bottled in 1964. Schenley opted to use George Dickel's name as the trademark because of the Cascade brand's reputation for value. Schenley shut down the Tennessee bottling operation in the 1980s, and the whiskey has since been hauled in tanker trucks for bottling elsewhere. Various mergers and buyouts have resulted in Diageo owning the Dickel brand.
Increased production of George Dickel in the 1990s caused supply to exceed demand. In response, the distillery closed to allow the whiskey's value to rebound and mitigate some wastewater issues at the distillery. It reopened in 2003, almost too late to prevent a shortage of Old No. 8 in the market by 2007. Diageo introduced a younger, three-year-old expression branded Old-Fashioned Cascade Hollow Batch Recipe to meet demand. It was discontinued in 2013, after aged stocks rebounded sufficiently.
George Dickel Rye, introduced in 2012, is the only Dickel product not produced at the Cascade Hollow Distillery. Most of the stages of its production are conducted under contract in Indiana, and is then trucked to the Diageo's facility in Plainfield, Illinois for filtering with Dickel's charcoal and bottling. It is mashed, distilled and aged at MGP Indiana.
In early 2014 Dickel introduced their No. 1 white corn whiskey, using an unaged version of their standard mashbill; the Dickel mashbill is over 80% corn, allowing for its sale as "corn whiskey".
The Cascade Distillery currently operates under the supervision of Master Distiller John Lunn.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09.
- "History Of Dickel Distillery". George A. Dickel & Co. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
- Larry Olmstead, A Brand New Rye Whiskey That Will Turn Heads, Forbes, 25 October, 2012.
- www.dickel.com History page
- The Chuck Cowdery Blog: Dickel Checks In.
- Google News Archive: The Free Lance-Star Sep. 21, 1953
- The Book of Classic American Whiskeys. Mark H. Waymack and James Harris.
- Charles A. Cowdery, George Dickel Gives a Different Taste to LDI Rye, The Chuck Cowdery Blog, October 26, 2012.
- Kevin Gray, George Dickel Rye Whisky Review, October 19, 2012.
- "George Dickel White Corn Whisky Foundation No. 1 Recipe". bevindustry.com. January 22, 2014. Retrieved March 8, 2014.
- National Register of Historic Places plaque at the George Dickel Visitor Center. Information accessed 15 March 2014.
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