Griesedieck’s “Old Scenter Rye” Whiskey Sign 1898

Griesedieck Bros. "Old Scenter Rye" Cardboard Sign 1898

Griesedieck Bros. “Old Scenter Rye” Cardboard  Whiskey Sign 1898

I recently acquired this unique Pre-Prohibition cardboard sign advertising a long forgotten whiskey brand called Old Scenter Rye. To my knowledge, this antique advertising sign is the first one of its kind known to exist. This particular whiskey was made by H.L. Griesedieck and Company, a distillery based in St. Louis, Missouri. The sign was made by the Philadelphia Novelty Advertising Co., circa 1898.

Griesedieck Old Scenter Rye Tin Tray

Griesedieck  “Old Scenter Rye” serving tray 1910

It’s interesting how the country image ties the hunting dogs use of their “scent” with the name of the whiskey, Old Scenter Rye. Griesedieck used these dogs as their mascot character in quite a bit of their advertising.

Saloon patrons had a hard time pronouncing the Griesedieck brand when ordering one of their whiskey or beer products. In spite of that, the Griesedieck family business became a dynasty throughout the Midwest.  

Griesedieck Family Whiskey and Brewery Businesses

Griesedieck Bros. Beer Self-Framed Tin Embossed Signs 1940

Griesedieck Bros. Beer Self-Framed Tin Embossed Signs 1940

The Griesedieck name has been synonymous with beer and whiskey beverages since the mid-1800s. The family is better known for their many successful breweries but not everyone is familiar with their whiskey production. The Griesedieck Distilling Company got started in 1891 by one of the Griesedieck family members, Henry Griesedieck. He had wanted to branch out after the tremendous success of the brewery business.

Griesedieck Western Brewery Reverse-on-Glass Sign 1933

Griesedieck Western Brewery Reverse-on-Glass Sign 1933

The whiskey distillery was very successful and was known throughout Mid-America for their flagship brand “Old Scenter Rye” and another big seller, “Sweet Briar Bourbon”. In 1894, a second location opened just a few blocks from the first plant. Other brands sold by the H.L. Griesedieck Distillery were Bedford Dry Sloe Gin, Silver Brook, Warbler, Drum Major, Moreland Club, Special Hermitage, and Wishbone. These brands are found on rare antique advertisements from that time period.

Unfortunately, when Prohibition started in 1919 it caused the Griesedieck’s to close their doors for the distillery and brewery. The company made a non-alcoholic beer and soft drinks during Prohibition. Then after repeal in 1933, the brewery division was reopened but not the distillery.

In addition to Henry Griesedieck’s successful whiskey trade, he was part owner of the Central Brewery Company based in East St. Louis, Illinois and Western Brewery in Belleville, Illinois.

A Reintroduction of the Griesedieck Bros. Beer Brand

In 1992, the family descendent Raymond Griesedieck, son of Henry A. Griesedieck (the last president of the original Griesedieck Brothers), incorporated the new Griesedieck Brothers Brewery Company. By 2002, Griesedieck Brothers Beer re-emerged in the St. Louis beer market.

Raymond A. Griesedieck owns the GB shield and trademarks. Griesedieck Brothers Brewery offers their Golden Pilsner and Unfiltered Bavarian-Style Wheat brand at many grocery stores, restaurants and bars. Only time will tell if this gains the initial success the Griesedieck brands  once had or if there is any interest in the whiskey distillery trade given the recent surge in spirit sales in the United States.