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November 2, 2015 / Joanne Yeck

 Buckingham County Distilleries


During the summer of 1903, while Buckingham County’s Marshall District fought to settle the saloon question, other Buckingham citizens were busy making fruit brandies.

On August 19, 1903, The Times-Dispatch reported:

Mr. Charles Gee, an officer of the United States Government, passed through this section visiting the brandy distilleries last week. He found one man who was not ready for him; was not looking for him, in fact, didn’t want to see him, as he had no license to distill, although, it is said, he had about 100 gallons of “low wines” and a great many apples he had bought at 23 cents per bushel. The officer made the distiller take the cap off the still and forbid him to proceed any further, and it is said the man will be proceeded against as an illicit distiller. There are three distilleries within a radius of five miles, and if the revenue officers do not bother them too much they will make a big lot of brandy.



It takes four bushels of summer apples to make a gallon of brandy and these cost 92 cents, the tax on a gallon of brandy is $1, and by wholesale it does not sell for more than $1.50 per gallon, so it may be readily seen that no one can pay a tax on all they make, and as a usual thing the revenue officers have been very lenient with the brandy men here.

Do the math.

With or without saloons, legal or illegal, there was plenty of alcohol to be had in Buckingham County!

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