Old Charter

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Old Charter Bourbon whiskey
Old Charter.JPG
Old Charter
Type Bourbon whiskey
Manufacturer Sazerac Company
Country of origin Kentucky, United States
Introduced 1874
Alcohol by volume 40.00%
Proof 80
Related products Buffalo Trace

Old Charter is a brand of bourbon whiskey distilled in Frankfort, Kentucky at the Buffalo Trace Distillery, which is part of the Sazerac Company.[1][2]

Early History[edit]

The Old Charter brand was established in 1874 by Adam and Benjamin Chapeze, brothers operating under the name A. B. Chapeze, who were operating a distillery on the Bardstown branch of the L&N Railroad.[3][better source needed] Ben Chapeze[who?] traveled and pushed the brand and made it well known while his brother Adam managed the operation. Eventually sales were assigned under contract to Wright & Taylor, a Louisville wholesale house operated by John J. Wright and Marion E. Taylor.

After prohibition[edit]

In 1933, the Bernheim distillery acquired the Old Charter Brand and all of its bourbon stock from Wright & Taylor, but did not start selling the brand using that stock until the stock was fully aged for bond in 1937.[4][better source needed] Wright and Taylor also used the Old Charter brand name for their remaining pre-prohibition bourbon stock. In 1937, the two majority owners of Bernheim, Gerngross and Schwarzhaupt, sold out to Schenley Distilleries. The brand names sold at that time included Old Charter, Cascade, and Echo Springs.[5][better source needed] In 1974, the 1,000,000th barrel of Old Charter was bottled and a case was given by the Governor of Kentucky (Wendell Ford) to the Governor of Texas (Dolph Briscoe) as a gift.[6][better source needed] In 1987, United Distillers acquired Schenley. In 1999, the Old Charter brand was purchased by the Sazerac Company from Diageo.[7][8]

Current Expressions[edit]

  • Old Charter 8 - no age statement bourbon bottled at 80 proof (was previously 8 years old).
  • Old Charter 10 year - a ten year old bourbon bottled at 80 proof. This line was previously bottled at 86 proof.
  • Old Charter 101 - no age statement bourbon bottled at 101 proof.[9]


  1. ^ Buffalo Trace official web site.
  2. ^ "Great Bourbon" web site of the Sazerac Company
  3. ^ Liquor Store Magazine, February, 1970.
  4. ^ Bourbon Information Bureau Booklet.
  5. ^ U D Archives, Uncataloged Item, compiled by Michael Veach.
  6. ^ What's New at Schenley, November 1973.
  7. ^ "Sazerac Completes Acquisition of Weller and Charter Brands." (Press release). PRNewswire. April 28, 1999. Retrieved August 2, 2010. 
  8. ^ Sazerac Company official web site
  9. ^ http://www.buffalotracedistillery.com/brands/old-charter#1