Midlife Crises of the Twentieth Century: From Prohibition to Bankruptcy


The passage of Prohibition in 1919 forced the distillery, along with other American spirits producers, to shut its doors to the public. Although the distillery did reopen after the repeal of Prohibition, it changed hands many times over the next few decades and frequently occupied a precarious financial position. During the 1950s, Lou Forman, one of the distillery’s then-owners, created the modern Michter’s brand name by combining portions of his sons’ names – Michael and Peter.

In 1989, with the entire American whiskey industry suffering a prolonged downturn, Michter’s then-owners declared bankruptcy and abandoned the premises, leaving its Pennsylvania operations in disrepair and the Michter’s name – seemingly – lost to history … were it not for a fortuitous connection to two whiskey lovers with an abiding admiration for the old Michter’s legacy and quality.