Rye whiskey with Pennsylvania roots raises nearly $20,000 at auctions | TribLIVE.com
Westmoreland

Rye whiskey with Pennsylvania roots raises nearly $20,000 at auctions

Patrick Varine
1705983_web1_gtr-ScaifeBourbon-091319
Tribune-Review file
This 1909 bottle of Overholt Rye whiskey went for $14,000 at a Kentucky auction on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019. A 1911 bottle went for $5,500 at a Fort Ligonier Association auction on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019.

Century-old bottles of rare Western Pennsylvania rye whiskey are making a few organizations very happy this week, and it’s not just the buzz from throwing back a couple shots.

Bottles distilled in 1909 and 1911 were auctioned off within days of one another this week, with one fetching $14,000 to benefit the Speed Art Museum in Kentucky.

Closer to home, a 1911 bottle was auctioned off at the Fort Ligonier Association’s Cannon Ball on Friday evening.

It brought in $5,500 for the association.

“It was an outstanding auction in many respects,” said past president Joe Byers. “The last time we had one (of these bottles), it went for about $2,400, so it was an exceptional auction in our minds.”

Old Overholt dates to April 1800 when Henry Overholt, his wife and their 12 children moved from Bucks County to Westmoreland County, settling around Jacobs Creek in East Huntingdon, according to the West Overton Village & Museums site. His first business here was distilling rye whiskey.

Production continued until 1919, when the 18th Amendment — Prohibition — was enacted.

Andrew Mellon, then secretary of the Treasury and part owner of the distillery, granted a license to distill “medicinal whiskey” at the Overholts’ sister company at Broadford, Connellsville Township.

West Overton this year established a new distillery on the original property, bringing whiskey production back for the first time in a century.

In addition to the whiskey, the live auction included dinner for six with wine pairings from Vallozzi’s wine cellar; a trip to a coastal retreat in Nags Head, N.C.; an end table created by master woodworker Paul Sirofchuck; an 18th-century-style dinner with “Col. Henry Bouquet” at the fort; dinner at The Inn in Washington with an overnight stay at the Foster Harris House bed-and-breakfast; and a four-night trip for two to Ireland’s Drumoland Castle.

While the numbers won’t be finalized until early next week, “my sense is that this will be a record auction for Fort Ligonier,” Byers said.

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, [email protected] or via Twitter .

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.