Meredith's Diamond Club Whiskey Rye Jugs

One of the more unusual and eye-catching figural advertising items you will run across were the brainchild of George Meredith, a laborer working at the KT&K pottery in East Liverpool, OH.   The KT&K Pottery, better known as the Knowles, Taylor and Knowles Pottery produced unique whiteware pottery at a time when most potters were making earthen tone pottery pieces.  George Meredith left KT&K in 1880 and went into whiskey production.   His “Meredith’s Diamond Club” brand took off with sales immediately, and due to his marketing genius, he used the word “pure” to describe his whiskey and it worked well.

Mr. Meredith soon realized if he sold his whiskey in the white porcelain pottery which was being produced by KT&K, he would differentiate himself from other whiskey men who were selling their product in wooden barrels or in bottles. Mr. Meredith worked closely with his former employer to create a porcelain jug with a serpent handle and a tapered body, unique to the whiskey marketplace.   Soon after Mr. Meredith’s whiskey became so widely sold it was marketed from Maine to California, solidifying the Diamond Club brand as one of the largest selling whiskies in the United States in the 1880’s.


Given the quick success of the Diamond Brand’s sales after the porcelain jug introduction, the KT&K owners started merchandising their whiskey jugs to other large regional whiskey distillers, which in turn increased their sales and company image.

Shortly thereafter multiple distillers were branding their product and company names on jugs from coast to coast produced by KT&K.   I have found at least 12 different companies which sold their whiskey in the small white porcelain jugs, but none ever matched the long term success of George Meredith’s brand.

One interesting fact is the town of East Liverpool, Ohio voted itself dry in 1907.   By doing so, the town pushed away one of their larger employers when they decided to move to Pittsburgh, PA.   Unfortunately that move only proved a short term fix for the whiskey jug producing pottery, since it was only a few short years later when Prohibition ended the sale of whiskey, and put a major dent into the KT&K sales opportunity.   Like so many other alcohol related employers, prohibition’s impact to the company’s bottom line sales forced the company into financial problems.   By 1929 the company merged with the American Chinaware Corporation, but the stock market crashed and the newly merged company went bankrupt once and for all.

George Meredith saw his wealth evaporate with Prohibition also, and he migrated from Pittsburgh to Atlantic City, NJ where he worked in real estate for a for years before his death in 1924. Fortunately for collectors of early advertising, the KT&K whiskey jugs remain an impressive looking collectible and can be found today in collections from coast to coast.