Old Mr. Boston

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Postcard of distillery c. 1930s

Old Mr. Boston was a distillery located at 1010 Massachusetts Avenue in Boston, Massachusetts from 1933 to 1986. It produced its own label of gin, bourbon, rum, and brandies, as well as a few cordials and liqueurs.


The distillery was founded in the Roxbury, Massachusetts neighborhood of Boston in 1933 by Irwin "Red" Benjamin and Hyman C. Berkowitz. Old Mister Boston was known for its collectible bottles such as the 1953 Presidential Inaugural Bottle.

Over time, through a series of changes of ownership, the words "Old" and "Mr." were dropped from the name until it was known simply as "Boston."[1] The distillery was a major employer in the Boston area from the 1930s until its closing circa 1986 when the parent company, Glenmore Distillers, shut down operations and the brand vanished. The building that housed Old Mr. Boston's operations is owned by the City of Boston and is in use as a City Inspectional Services headquarters as well as housing other city agencies such as the Boston Public Health Commission and the Department of Transitional Assistance.

Famous "bartender's guide"[edit]

1935 first edition of Old Mr. Boston guide, showing trademark logo, the fictional "Mr. Bostic". The book has been in print for more than 65 years.

The "Mr. Boston" name is known not only for its brands of distilled spirits, but also for its unique reference book, (Old) Mr. Boston Official Bartender's Guide, used by both professional and home bartenders as the "Bible of Booze." The Guide was first published 1935, according to the first date published in the Guide's publisher information page, the early days after the Repeal of Prohibition, when the distillery started up business again. As late as 2012 new editions were printed.[1][2]

1995 acquisition[edit]

The Barton Brands liquor unit of New York's Canandaigua Wine Co. (now Constellation Brands) acquired the brand name in 1995 and resumed production. Barton uses the brand for a line of liqueurs and cordials.[1] In 2009 Constellation Spirits, including the Mr. Boston brand, was sold to the Sazerac Company of New Orleans,[3] who have subsequently released light and dark rums imported from the U.S. Virgin Islands under the Mr. Boston name.

Famous Old Mr. Boston Brands[edit]

  • The Spot Bottle
  • Rock & Rye
  • Mint & Gin
  • Bottled In Bond (100 proof)
  • Blackberry Flavored Brandy (BFB)


  1. ^ a b c Joshua Glenn (December 28, 2003). "Looking for Mr. Boston". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2007-11-13. 
  2. ^ Anthony Giglio, Ben Fink: Mr. Boston Official Bartender's Guide. John Wiley and Sons 2009, ISBN 978-0-470-39065-8, p. 89 (online copy, p. 80, at Google Books)
  3. ^ Keith Lawrence (May 1, 2009). "Sazerac expanding bottling plant". Messenger-Enquirer, Owensboro, Kentucky. Retrieved 2010-05-21. 

External links[edit]