Bear Grass Kentucky Bourbon

Provenance: Richard T. Siri collection

The museum is pleased to present a second bottle by Herman Braunschweiger. On an adjacent display shelf, we have the ‘Pioneer Walking Bear‘ by Fenkhausen & Braunschweiger. That bottle is dated circa 1880 and 1881 when the two were partners. The Bear Grass Kentucky Bourbon comes next when Braunschweiger leaves Fenkhausen and partners with Edward H. Bumsted. Both are pictured side-by-side above.

Herman Braunschweiger was born on October 24, 1839, in Braunschweig, Germany. He was naturalized as a citizen of the United States in New Orleans, Louisiana on May 25, 1868.

Braunschweiger moved to San Francisco and we see him as a partner with Amandus Fenkhausen importing and selling wine and liquors located at the northwest corner of Front and Sacramento Streets in 1875 and 1876. Their business is named A. Fenkhausen & Co. In 1880 and 1881 they change the name to Fenkhausen & Braunschweiger and they have relocated to 414 Front Street. Edward H. Bumsted was listed as a traveling agent so he would have been selling the Pioneer Bear Whiskey.

Braunschweiger would leave Fenkhausen as he partners next with Bumsted and they name their business Braunschweiger & Bumsted. In 1882 they are selling Hibernia Stomach Bitters, Golden Anchor, Golden Chief, Golden Rule, Golden Cupid, and Silver Wedding liquors. Now they are located at 223 California Street up until 1884. They announce a Dissolution of Copartnership on August 9, 1884 in the Daily Alta California. Braunschweiger & Co. is launched that year and announced in the same newspaper. They would prosper for a decade. Along the way, his son Edward would join him in business as a bookkeeper.

Listings from 1891 to 1894 show Braunschweiger & Co. (incorporated), as importers and wholesale dealers in wines and liquors still located at 223 California according to the City Directories for San Francisco, California.

From 1896 to 1904, Braunschweiger & Co. lists Herman Braunschweiger as president, Edward Braunschweiger, secretary, and treasurer and again note that they are importers and liquor merchants. They move and are now located at 5 – 7 Drumm with a telephone number Main 1646. The 1906 San Francisco earthquake destroyed the company premises but Herman rebuilt and continued the business until retirement in 1913. Edward would continue the business.

Research: Reference to Whiskey Bottles of the Old West by John L. Thomas, Peachridge Glass, and Western Whiskey Gazette.

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