The history of John E. Fitgerald is one full of mystery and intrigue, with tall tales dating as far back as 1870. Then that name was canonized when the Stizel-Weller Distillery named one of their main brands Old Fitzgerald, after him.
According to one folklore, John E. Fitzgerald built a distillery with his own hands on the banks of the Kentucky River in the 1870s and sold his finest Bourbon ONLY to rail lines, steamships, and private clubs. Since the brand was supposedly shipped all over world and only to exclusive clubs, the average person could never find a bottle to actually try. It became scarce and people always wanted what they couldn’t have or find. The reputation of the brand continued to soar. The actual “Old Fitzgerald” brand was first registered in the 1880’s by Solomon C. Herbst and produced in such limited quantities that it was very difficult to find outside Franklin County, the county in which it was produced. It would be considered a Craft Distiller today.