How Jews Gained American Liquor Control
by Henry Ford
(Reprinted from the 17 December 1921 Issue of the house journal of the Ford Motor Co., the Dearborn Independent and slightly edited by Raymond Bray to eliminate the numerous uses of "which" for "that" in the original.)
To those who have been surprised and confounded by the widespread evidence, which even the newspapers have been unable to suppress, that the bulk of the organized bootlegging that is being carried on in this country is in the hands of the Jews, it would have been less of a surprise had they known the liquor history of this country.
The claim made for the Jews, that they are a sober people, is undoubtedly true, but that has not prevented two facts concerning them, namely, that they usually constitute the liquor dealers of the countries where they live in numbers, and that in the United States they are the only people exempted from the operations of the Prohibition law.
Here, as elsewhere, the principle holds true that "the Jew is the key." The demoralization that struck the liquor business, causing its downfall, and the demoralization that has struck Prohibition enforcement for a time, cannot be understood without a study of the racial elements that contributed to both phenomena. If in what follows the Jews find objectionable elements, they should remember that their own people put them there. It is impossible to doubt that if the organized Jews of the United States were to make one-thousandth of the protest against the illegal liquor activities of their own people that they make against the perfectly legal and morally justifiable exposures being made in THE DEARBORN INDEPENDENT, the result would be not only favorable but immediate.
There was a time when the term "whisky" had a much more respectable connotation than it has today. There was a time when to use whisky and even to make it, were customs sanctioned by the better class of public opinion.
It is a common explanation of the difference between then and now, that people of the latter period became more sensitive morally than their forbears, that whereas the previous generation guzzled its whisky, innocently oblivious of the evil in it, the latter generation developed a stronger discrimination and banned the custom.
The truth is this: the people did not become better; the whisky became worse. When the entire story of the people's justifiable indignation is written, the competent historian will trace along with the people's rising disgust, the whisky's decreasing quality.
Attention to this matter will materially assist an understanding of the fact that Jews and bootlegging are so continuously and prominently connected in the public prints these days.
Readers of the old romances know how proud the master was of his wines. Vintages ripened under certain skies , on certain hills, where certain waters flowed, with cellarage in certain soils, had a faculty of aging gracefully, mellowing to a smoothness and purity and desirableness that made for cheer and health without the alloy of sordid inebriety. Then bouquet of wine, the perfected essence of the grape subjected to the further courses of nature, has been a theme of praise for centuries. If it were uttered today the source of the utterance would be suspected, and very probably with good reason, of being in pay of the "wets." For the vile stuff that civilization threw out is not at all the wine of popular custom and century-long esteem.
Nevertheless, it is not difficult for even a modern to grasp the fact that there was an art in making wine and strong drink, in which art men took pride. That art required time, experience, a love of good quality
It is a little difficult to speak of this art in connection with whisky--wine being a more poetic word--yet it is a matter of knowledge that three places in the world have devoted to the production of whisky the same spirit that France and Portugal devoted to their wines. These three districts are Blenlivet in Scotland, the region of Dublin in Ireland, and the Blue-Grass region of Kentucky. Why in these three regions? First, because there were men--non-Jews, of course--who were willing to wait ten years to produce a good article. Second, the waters of these regions are of a quality that is beautifully adapted to the making of pure goods. Pure whisky, it should be remembered, is a vegetable product matured by natural forces and no other. Grain, water, and time--not even artificial heat added, nor any other thing--completes the best whisky product.
In older times in America there were men who were as choice of their whiskies as of their horses or books. There was then such a thing as quality. But there was no such thing as delirium tremens. That came later, with the disappearance of pure whisky. A distiller seldom grew rich--he was too engrossed in maintaining the quality of his product; and it consumed much time.
There were certain brands known nationally because of their mildness and purity--purest wine of the choicest grapes, aged in the best adapted cellars, was not more mild or pure. There are names that remain until this day--Pepper, Crow, Taylor, and others--the names of men who took time and pains, whose names became "brands" that guaranteed quality and purity. These men were distillers in the true sense, not manufacturers nor compounders, but distillers in a time when distilling was both a science and an art, and not a mere name to conceal a gigantic fraud on the public.
In time to come, when the people's justifiable moral indignation will permit a study of the steps by which the reputation of whisky came to its present low degree, they will see how much better it would have been, how much more efficacious and clarifying, if the attack on whisky had included an exposure of the men who had driven whisky out of the country and were selling rank poison as a substitute. The saloon, the brewer, the man who used strong drink were all of them made the target for attack' the Jews who demoralized the whole business went on collecting their enormous and illegitimate profits without so much as their identity being revealed.
Whisky ceased to be whisky and beer grew less like beer; the results upon humanity became apparent and deplorable. So society raised the license fee and increased the restrictions. To meet this, the Jewish compounders turned out still cheaper stuff, and still more vicious mixtures. Licenses went up, and quality went down; the Jewish compounders always getting a larger margin of profit. And through the long, long fight, no one, with one or two notable exceptions, had the sense and the courage to point a finger at the solid racial phalanx lined up behind the whole rotten combination.
Distilling is one of the long list of businesses that has been ruined by Jewish monopoly. Those who favor Prohibition will probably thank the Jew for his work in that direction. It may be that the Jew is destiny's agent to demoralize the business that must pass away. But set against that the fact that it is Jewish influence that demoralizes Prohibition, too, and both "wets" and "drys" have an interesting situation to consider.
In general, the Jews are on the side of liquor and always have been. They are the steadiest drinkers of all. That is why they were able to secure exemption from the Prohibition laws; their religious ceremonies require them to drink an amount that the law has considered to equal ten gallons a year. And so the Prohibition law of the United States--a part of the Constitution of the United States--is made legally ineffective to the extent of ten gallons of year a Jew. The amount, of course, is very much more; it is always easy to get 100 gallons through a 10-gallon loophole. In fact, thousands of gallons have come through that 10-gallon loophole.
It will come to many people as new knowledge that the liquor business of the world has been in the hands of Jews. In the United States the liquor business was almost exclusively in the hands of Jews for 25 years previous to Prohibition, during the period, in fact, when the liquor trade was giving point and confirmation to Prohibition arguments. This knowledge has an important bearing on the interpretation of our times.
In the volume, "The Conquering Jew," published by Funk & Wagnalls Company in 1916, John Foster Fraser writes:
"The Jews are masters of the whisky trade in the United States. Eighty percent of the members of the National Liquor Dealers; Association are Jews. It has been shown that 60 percent of the business of distilling and wholesale trade in whisky is in the hands of the Jews. As middlemen they control the wine product of California. Jews visit the tobacco-growing States and buy up nearly all the leaf tobacco, so that the great tobacco companies have to buy the raw product from them. The Jews have a grip on the cigar trade. The American Tobacco Company manufactures about 15 percent of the cigars smoked in the United States. The Jews provide the rest."
It was also true in Russia, Poland, Rumania. The Jewish Encyclopedia states that "The Establishment of the government liquor monopoly (in Russia in 1896) deprived thousands of Jewish families of a livelihood." They controlled the liquor traffic, the vodka business that undermined Russia. The government made the liquor business a national monopoly in order to abolish it, which was done. Liquor in Russia was Jewish, as the Encyclopedia testifies. Anyone reading carefully the article on Russia, especially pages 527 and 559 in the Jewish Encyclopedia, will be in no doubt as to the fact. In Rumania the whole "Jewish Question" was the liquor question. The land of the peasants came into control of the liquor sellers, and the business of handling liquors was a strict Jewish monopoly for years. In Poland the same was true. It is not surprising, therefore, that in the United States whisky also became Jewish.
For convenience in detailing this story, most of the observations made will center in the state of Kentucky. Almost every one of age knows the phrase "fine old Kentucky whiskies." It was once a phrase that meant something. Kentucky produced, in her limestone regions, the kind of water that served best with the grain ingredients of whisky. The word "Bourbon," known mostly as a kind of whisky, is really the name of a county in Kentucky where "Bourbon whisky" was first made. How profoundly the region in which whisky is manufactured affects the product may be gathered from the fact that a primitive Kentucky distiller named Shields, who became famous for a brand of Bourbon made from the waters of Glen's Creek, conceived of the idea of lowering his costs by transferring his distillery to Illinois, where he would be nearer the rich cornfields. He was disappointed. Illinois water would not make Bourbon. "The rule of the region" is supreme. Jamaica rum owes its characteristic to the waters of Jamaica. Port wine, is best produced in the region of Duro in Portugal, champagne in the region of Rheims in France, and beer in Bavaria. And so, in Kentucky there was the right combination of elements that made the whisky product of that state world famous.
An alcoholic spirit from grain may be made in any climate and by many methods. Neutral spirits, high wines and alcohol, are not indigenous anywhere. They can be made in any back room or cellar, in very little time. Little care is required. A concoction of drugs and spirits, properly colored and flavored, fraudulently labeled "whisky" and passed out over the bar, is a crime against the art of distilling, against the human nervous system, and against society.
Readers may recall that in 1904, Dr. Wiley, then chief of the United States Bureau of Chemistry, had a great deal to say about this. But because he did not point out that the evil he was attacking was fostered by a single class of men bent on gain at the cost of ruin to an American industry and to countless thousands of American citizens few paid any attention to him. The public supposed that Dr. Wiley was discussing a technical question that interested American distillers only. It vastly more interested the American citizen, if he had but known it, if anyone had but had the clear vision and the courage to expose the great Jewish whisky conspiracy.
The difference between the non-Jewish and the Jewish method, as illustrated in the history of American whisky, is thus described by Dr. Wiley:
"The aging of whisky takes years of time. It is expensive. The whisky leaks out. It is allowed to stand for four years at least. The object of this is to permit the oxidation of the alcohols. . . .There is a loss of interest on the value of the whisky while it is aging; hence it is an expensive process.
"But the manufacture of compounded, or artificial whisky has for its purpose the avoiding of this long and expensive process. the makers begin with the pure article of spirits that can be made in a few hours. . . . to this is added enough water to dilute it to the strength of whisky. The next step is to color it. . . .this is done by adding burnt sugar and caramel. The next thing is to supply the flavors. . . . By the way I have described, in two or three hours the compounder can make a material that looks like, smells like, tastes like, and analyzes like genuine whisky, but it has a different effect on the system. The people who drink this whisky are much more liable to receive injury from it than those who drink the genuine article."
All sorts of practices were resorted to. Drugs and raw "crops" of whisky were bought up and the business of "rectifying," as it was called, began the ruin of the natural and wholesome process of distilling. Quick money, regardless of what happened to the customer: that was the motive of the rectifying business
This rectifying business was mostly Jewish. Here and there a non-Jew was associated with Jewish partners, but rarely. The way had been found to trade on the reputation of the term "whisky" by compounding a liquid that looked and tasted like whisky but the effect of which was harmful. That was the capital fraud--the capture of the name "whisky" for s synthetic poison. There was a concealment of the meaning of "rectified spirits," a deceptive misrepresenting concerning aging. If chemical deception could be used to make a whisky taste as if it were nine years old, then it was advertised as "Nine Years in the Wood." Here is a bit of Jewish court testimony:
Q. Is your make of whisky nine years old:
A. Nine years old, but I want to explain in that respect that the whisky may not have existed nine years before it was put in that bottle. . . . That brand of whisky which we brand as nine years old blended, means that it equal to a nine-year-old whisky in smoothness and quality.
Q. How did you arrive at the fact which you put upon this bottle that the whisky was nine years old?
A. Because it is comparatively nine years old.
Q. How do you arrive at that result?
A. By sampling. You take the whisky that is allowed to remain in the original package for nine years and compare it with our nine-year-old blend and you will find them in smoothness the same. Therefore, we class it as nine-year-old whisky.
Let the reader form his own judgement on that type of mind. The whisky bore a name, resembling a time-honored brand of pure goods, and it flaunted the name Kentucky, when it was not whisky at all, was not a Kentucky product, but was compounded of neutral spirits from Indiana, prune juice from California, rock candy from anywhere, and raw Illinois whisky from Peoria to give it flavor.
Although Louisville, Kentucky, became headquarters of whisky men, it was Cincinnati, Ohio, a thorough Judaized city, that became a greater headquarters for the pseudo-whisky men, the compounders, mixers, and rectifiers. The list of Cincinnati liquor dealers reads like a director of the Warsaw ghetto. In Louisville the Judaic complexion of the city, as well as society, is very noticeable; indeed most of the leading Jews in the whisky business are now Kentucky "Colonels."
The Jewish character of the whisky business since the Civil War may be visualized, by the simple expedient of noting how many of the better known brands have been at various dates under Jewish control:
There is "Old 66,: owned by Straus, Pritz & Co.
"Highland Rye," owned by Freiberg & Workum.
"T. W. Samuel Old Style Sour Mash,: owned by Max Hirsch, the Star Distilling Company.
"Bridgewater Sour Mash and Rye Whiskies," "Rosewood and Westbrook Bourbon Whiskies," distilled by J. & A. Freiberg.
"T. J. Monarch" and "Davies County Sour Mash Whiskies,: controlled by J. & A. Freiberg.
"Louis Hunter 1870," "Crystal Wedding," and "Old Jug," blended by J. & A. Freiberg.
"Gannymede '76," put out by Sigmund and Sol H. Freiberg.
"Jig-Saw Kentucky Corn Whisky," "Lynndale Whisky," Brunswick Rye and Bourbon," by Hoffheimer Brothers Company.
"Red Top Rye" and "White House Club," by Ferdinand Westheimer & Sons.
"Green River" came into the control of E. La Montague.
"Sunnybrook," a widely advertised brand, on whose advertising matter a man in a United States inspector's uniform stood behind as if endorsing it, was at the time owned by Rosenfield Brothers & Co.
"Mount Vernon," as from the Hannis Distilling Company, was at the time owned by Angelo Meyer.
"Belle of Nelson" came into control of the Jewish trust, which was brought to legal birth by Levy Mayer and Alfred Austrian, the latter being the Chicago attorney whose name will be recalled in connection with the baseball articles in this series.
"James E. Pepper" was owned by James Wolf.
"Cedar Brook" was owned by Julius Kessler & Co. It was formerly the old "W. H. McBrayer" brand, but the real W. H. McBrayer, knowing the new methods were arising in liquor-making, requested in his will that his name should not be used as a brand after he had ceased to see that the product was worthy of his name.
In the Pittsburg and Peoria districts, the same story held true; the alleged whisky made in those districts was controlled, with one exception, by Jews.
The Great Western Distillery, in Peoria, is owned by a corporation of Jews. Two of its brands were "Ravenswood Rye" and "Ravenswood Bourbon."
The Wooner Distillery made "Old Grove Whisky" and "Old Ryan Whisky," and "Bucha Gin."
In the city of Peoria alone there are fifteen great fortunes, all held by Jews, and for the most part made in what passed in Peoria for Whisky.
Take the city of Cincinnati alone and note what even an incomplete list reveals as to the names of the men classified as "distillers":
Bernheim, Rexinger & Company; Elias Bloch & Sons; J. & A. Freiberg; Freiberg & Workum; Helfrich & Sions; Hoffheimer Brothers Company; Elias Hyman & Sons; Kaufman, Bare & Company; Klein Brothers; A. Loeb & Co.; H. Rosenthal & Sons; Seligman Distilling Company; Straus, Pritz & Company; S. N. Weil & Company, and F. Westheimer & Sons; with many other Jews concealed under fancy trade names and corporation designations. It is the same throughout Ohio, which state, incidentally, is one of the most Jew-ridden states in the Union.
The lists here given do not by any means begin to indicate the numbers of the Jews who were engaged in the liquor business, they only indicate the complexion that the business takes on when a search is made behind the "brands" and the trade names. Any citizen in any city of size will have no trouble in confirming the statement that most of the rectifiers and wholesalers and brokers in the whisky trade of his city also were Jews.
But it is not only the fact that the liquor business was controlled by Jews that assumes importance. That is a fact that no one will deny--not even the Jewish defenders. But it is the additional fact that there was spread over this country the machinery of a vicious system that while it was destined to ruin the liquor business--as perhaps it deserved to be ruined-- also ruined hundreds of thousands of citizens who trusted that "pure and unadulterated" meant what the words were intended to convey. It would be a separate story to tell of all the manipulation of labels, the piracy of brand names, the conscienceless play upon words "pure and unadulterated" of which the un-American "compounded liquor" combine was guilty. Of course, the stuff was "pure and unadulterated"--so is carbolic acid-- but it was not whisky!~ There were law violations galore, and it was well enough recognized in the rectifying business as a regular practice to appropriate annually a certain sum to pay the fines that were bound to be assessed against it. A riot of adulteration and chicanery ensued, with whisky being made in many saloon cellars and the dangerous secrets of synthetic booze-making being peddled abroad among the customers of the trust.
Presently the saloon men became aware of the fact that they were the goats of the game. Seldom was the Jew engaged in dishing out five-cent beers or ten-cent whiskies; it remained for the "boob Gentile" to do that; the Jew was at the wholesale end where the real profits were made. But it was the saloon man who took the brunt of the blame. The Jewish "distillers," as the compounders and blenders of the Louisville and Peoria districts were called, wore silk hats and their respectability was unquestioned. The saloon men made an eleventh hour effort to save their business, but the stuff they were pouring out had not improved, and Prohibition came, sweeping the saloon away, but, as the sequel will show, not depriving the Jewish compounder of his profits.
How much of the liquor business of the United States was in whisky and how much in rectified spirits?
The Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900, said: "Most of the distilled liquors consumed as a beverage by the American people pass through rectifying houses. The different classes of rectified spirits range from the cheapest concoctions of neutral spirits and drugs to the simple blending of young and old whisky."
Twenty years ago statistics showed that 80 percent of the so-called whisky put up in the United States was imitation whisky. Chief Chemist Wiley, whose concern was not with the quantity but with the quality, gave it as his information "that over half the whisky in this country was compounded whisky. Less than half was genuine; and while they usually mix a little old whisky with it, they often sell it purely and simply as it is, whisky that has no claim to be called whisky under the real meaning of that term."
But all that was only a beginning. The time came when the vision of a great liquor combination rose in certain minds in this country. It was planned to sweep the good brands and the bad brands alike into one common management--whose control the reader will by this time suspect-- and thus not only capitalize the reputation that the old-time American distillers had made through years of honest distilling, but use the trade names of pure goods as a mask for a deluge of the dishonest kind of liquor that left a trail of suicide, insanity, crime, and social wreckage in its path.
This, with independent testimony as to the Jewish direction of it all, will form the subject matter of a separate story.