Iler & Co Whiskey Liquor Bottles The Willow Springs Distillery Omaha Nebraska Presentation Case Gift

Iler & Co Whiskey Liquor Bottles The Willow Springs Distillery Omaha Nebraska Presentation Case Gift


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Willow Springs Distilling Company was a brewery located in south Omaha, Nebraska. Part of a national conglomerate, Willow Springs was Nebraska’s first distillery, and grew to become the nation’s third largest distillery before the Great Depression.

Brought to Omaha from Iowa in 1866, Willow Springs began as a “little one-horse concern” owned by J.C. McCoy. The company was seized by the federal government in 1869 in lieu of McCoy’s defaulted revenue tax payments. The same year the government sold it to James G. McGrath and Peter E. Iler, operating as Iler and Company. Iler was later heavily involved in anti-prohibition movements in Nebraska preceding the national campaign, as well as being an initial investor in the South Omaha Land Company and the Omaha Stockyards. In 1871 the distillery was incorporated as the Willow Springs Distilling Company. The original distillery was located at 4th and Pierce Streets, immediately south of Downtown Omaha. (Wikipedia)

Willow Springs produced a variety of alcohol and spirits, including gins, pure rye and bourbon whiskeys, mash and sweet mash. When Prohibition in the United States stopped the production of alcoholic beverages in 1919, the company became known as Willow Springs Bottling and featured only near beer, malt and soda pop.

Several of the distillery’s products won awards at Omaha’s Trans-Mississippi Exposition of 1898.

Fascinating history of Peter Iler here:

Great old 1875 photo of Iler & the distillery here:

This cool leather case is partitioned into 3 sections to hold the three glass bottles. Each bottle is about 4-1/4” tall and corked. Case was made by Springmeier & Co, 533 Main St, Cincinnati, O. I’m guessing this was originally a presentation gift (with full bottles!).

Leather case is 15-1/2” long and 3” in diameter and is imprinted inside in gold: “Iler & Co. Omaha - The Willow Springs Distillery.” Everything is in good, if aged, condition. Circa late 1800s. This rare old item is a great piece of Nebraska and distilled spirits history!

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