Laird & Co.:
1698 – Great Great Great Great Great Grandpa Bill In 1698 Alexander Laird, a County Fife Scotsman, emigrated from Scotland to America aboard the ship the Caledonia, accompanied by his sons Thomas and William. William settled in Monmouth County, New Jersey. While in Scotland it is believed that William was involved in the production of Scotch. Thus upon his arrival to America, he applied his ski... Read more
1698 – Great Great Great Great Great Grandpa Bill In 1698 Alexander Laird, a County Fife Scotsman, emigrated from Scotland to America aboard the ship the Caledonia, accompanied by his sons Thomas and William. William settled in Monmouth County, New Jersey. While in Scotland it is believed that William was involved in the production of Scotch. Thus upon his arrival to America, he applied his skills to the most abundant natural resource available in this area of the New World…apples! He began production of AppleJack for his own use, as well as his friends and neighbors. 1717 – Colts Neck Inn In 1717, a descendant of William Laird built the Colts Neck Inn in Colts Neck, New Jersey. This inn served as a stopping point for stagecoaches and dispatch riders traveling from Freehold to Amboy, New Jersey. Robert Laird’s account book of the Colts Neck Inn operations in 1780, the first commercial records, shows that "cyder spirits" - Applejack - was a standard item on the menu, at a price of four shillings, six pence per gallon. This represented about a half-day’s wages. 1760 – George Washington Robert Laird was a Revolutionary War soldier serving under George Washington, and the Laird family supplied the troops with Applejack. Historical records show that, prior to 1760, George Washington wrote to the Laird family requesting their recipe for producing Applejack, which the Laird family gladly supplied. Entries appear in Washington’s diary in the 1760s regarding his production of "cyder spirits". 1780 – The first known commercial record of Applejack sale. 1849 – Fire The Applejack distillery flourished at the Colts Neck Inn site until 1849, when a fire burned the distillery to the ground. Robert Laird, a fifth generation Laird, re-built the distillery at its current Scobeyville site. In 1851, expanded commercial production of Applejack began. 1900 – Prohibition In the early 1900s, sixth generation Joseph T. Laird, Jr. faced Prohibition. He was able to keep the company in operation by producing other apple products, such as sweet cyder and applesauce. Seventh generation, John Evans Laird and his brother, Joseph T. Laird, III also kept the company in operation by producing other apple products during Prohibition. In 1933, Laird & Company was granted a federal license under the Prohibition Act to produce Apple Brandy for "medicinal purposes", allowing the company to re-open the distillery. This also allowed the company to have aged inventories of Applejack available immediately after the repeal of Prohibition. New and modern facilities were added, and Applejack production continued until the outbreak of World War II. At this time, the plant was converted to the drying and dehydration of apple pomace for production of pectin and other products to aid in the war effort. Today For almost 300 years, the art of producing Applejack has been passed down through succeeding generations of the Laird Family. Eighth generation Larrie W. Laird is now president of Laird & Company and heads America’s oldest family of distillers. Family tree Read less
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Food Pairings for Laird Chard Carneros
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