Old Fitzgerald was a brand started in Frankfort in 1870, and originally called John E. Fitzgerald. In 1884 the trademark and label were switched to Old Fitzgerald. In 1935, W.L. Weller and Sons purchased the brand for $4000. When A.Ph. Stitzel joined Weller to become Stitzel Weller in 1933, they purchased the Old Fitzgerald brand and changed the recipe to a wheated one. They began producing it at their now infamous Shively distillery when it opened in 1935. It continued to be made there until the distillery closed on 1/21/93. It was then distilled at the new Bernheim distillery. The brand was ultimately purchased by Heaven Hill in 1999, who has been producing it at Bernheim since.

The Old Fitzgeralds most revered for their taste are those produced at Stitzel Weller, and among those the Bottled in Bond are generally more loved than the Prime, which was a lower proof line started when Julian “Pappy” Van Winkle retired in 1964.

See also the Very Old Fitzgerald category for the most premium Old Fitzgerald bottlings, and the Stitzel-Weller timeline for further info.

 

Photo libraries, in ascending order by bottling year

Old Fitzgerald Bonded Medicinal Pint, 1917-1930

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Masterpiece Bonded 7 1/2yr, 4/5qt, 1936-1944

A private-label Stitzel-Weller bourbon bottled for a grocer in Kansas City.

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Old Fitzgerald Bonded, 4/5qt, 1940-1947

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Rare Old Fitzgerald, 1950

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Old Fitzgerald Bonded Diamond Decanter, 1947-1951

Photos courtesy of Tyler Fabian

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Rare Old Fitzgerald, Bonded 1947-1952

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Old Fitzgerald Bonded Decanter, 1948-1954

Photos courtesy of Tyler Fabian

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Club Bourbon 7yr, 93pf, Stitzel Weller, 4/5qt, 1954

Bottled for the Pacific-Union Club on Nob Hill in San Franciso.
Photos courtesy of Thomas Oakes

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Old Fitzgerald Bonded 6yr, 4/5qt, 1948-1955

Photos courtesy of Tyler Fabian

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Masterpiece Bonded 8yr, 4/5qt, 1947-1955

A private-label Stitzel-Weller bourbon bottled for a grocer in Kansas City.

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Old Fitzgerald Bonded, Half Pint, 1953-1959

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Old Fitzgerald Bonded 6yr, Pint, 1953-1959

Photos courtesy of Brian Lovejoy

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Old Fitzgerald Bonded 86pf Export, 1960

Although bottles sold in the US that were labeled as bonded had to be 100 proof, that wasn’t the case for bottles sold in other countries.

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Old Fitzgerald Bonded, Half Gallon, 1954-1960

Photos courtesy of Tyler Fabian

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Old Fitzgerald 6yr Bonded Decanter, 4/5qt, 1954-1960

This is the same bottle featured in this great video on the design process of a decanter.
Photos courtesy of Jason Girard.

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Old Fitzgerald Fleur-de-Lis Bonded Decanter, 4/5qt, 1956-1962

Photos courtesy of Jason Girard

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Old Fitzgerald Tournament Decanter, 4/5qt, 1957-1963

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Old Fitzgerald Tournament Decanter, 4/5qt, 1956-1963

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Old Fitzgerald Bonded 6yr, 4/5qt, 1958-1964

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Old Fitzgerald Bonded 6yr, 4/5qt, 1958-1964

Photos courtesy of Jason Girard.

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Old Fitzgerald “Tree of Life” Bonded Decanter, 1958-1964

Photos courtesy of Darren McGowen

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Old Fitzgerald 7yr Bonded, 4/5qt, 1959-1966

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Old Fitzgerald Bonded 6yr, 1961-1967

Photos courtesy of MaltMartin.

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Old Fitzgerald Prime 7yr 86.8pf, Half Gallon, 1966-1971 era

Photos courtesy of Daniel Cowell

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Old Fitzgerald Prime “Lexington” Decanter, 8yr 86.8pf, 4/5qt ~1968

Photos courtesy of mimmotron.

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Old Fitzgerald Colonial Decanter, Bonded, 4/5qt, 1963-1969

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Old Fitzgerald 1849, 90.4pf, 1970-71

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Old Fitzgerald Prime 7yr, Quart, 1970

Photos courtesy of Tyler Fabian

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Old Fitzgerald “Blarney Bottle” Bonded Decanter, 7yr, 1964-1970

Photos courtesy of Ted Doggett.

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Old Fitzgerald Prime, 7yr 86pf, Half Gallon ~1970

Photos courtesy of Gary Crakes

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Old Fitzgerald “Old Ironsides” Decanter, Bonded, 4/5qt, 1965-1971

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Old Fitzgerald Bonded, Pint, 1965-1971

Photos courtesy of Daniel Cowell

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Old Fitzgerald 1849 10yr, 1972

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Old Fitzgerald 1849 10yr, 90.4pf, 1972

Photos courtesy of Cody Turner

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Old Fitzgerald Bonded Half Gallon, 1967-1973

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Old Fitzgerald Hospitality Decanter, Bonded, 1966-1973

Photos courtesy of Kurt Suda

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Old Fitzgerald 6yr 86pf, 1974

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Old Fitzgerald Prime Triangular Holiday Decanter, 4/5qt, 1975

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Old Fitzgerald Prime 6yr, 86pf, 4/5qt, 1977

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Old Fitzgerald Prime 86pf, 200ml – 6.8oz, late 1970s

Old Fitzgerald Prime 86 proof 200 ml – 6.8 fl.oz., circa late 1970’s.  This bottle is sealed by a numbered red tax strip and stamp from the State of Wisconsin which establish the bottle as pre-July 1, 1985 or earlier.  Dual-measure (standard/metric) date the bottle to the transition era, and absence of a UPC code more precisely date the bottle to 1980 or earlier.  No apparent date reference can be found among the embossed text on the bottom of this bottle.
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Old Fitzgerald 10yr 101pf Decanter, 1978 – Export

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Old Fitzgerald 10yr 101pf Decanter, 750ml ~1978

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Old Fitzgerald 1849, 750ml, 1979

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Old Fitzgerald Bonded, 750ml, 1974-1980

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Old Fitzgerald Bonded, 1981 – 200ml

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Old Fitzgerald Bonded, 750ml, ~1982

Photos courtesy of Ted Doggett.

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Old Fitzgerald Prime 86pf, liter, 1983

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Old Fitzgerald 80pf Bonded Export, 750ml, Early 1980s

Photos courtesy of mimmotron.

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Old Fitzgerald 10yr 101pf Decanter, 750ml ~1985

Photos courtesy of Ted Doggett.

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Old Fitzgerald Prime 80pf, 200ml, 1986

Old Fitzgerald Prime 80 proof 200 ml, circa 1986.  What appears to be an ’86’ embossed on the bottom of the glass dates the bottle to 1986 or shortly thereafter.  This bottle is sealed by what appears to be a numbered red tax strip, which is curious given that the red stamp requirement on all non-bonded liquor was repealed by the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984.  ‘Faux’ unnumbered tax strip paper was used to tamper-seal some bottles into the 1990’s – in the case of Old Fitzgerald, at least until 1993.
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Old Fitzgerald Prime 86pf, 200ml, 1987

Old Fitzgerald Prime 86 proof 200 ml, circa 1987.  Note the prominence of the proof identification in large red numerals to the bottom right of the front label.  Prime was released in many different expressions of varying proofs and occasional age statements, which at times was featured in this area of the label, which otherwise would depict the image of a still.  This bottle is tamper-sealed by a faux, un-numbered red tax strip.  An ’87’ embossed on the bottom the glass date the bottle to 1987 or shortly thereafter.

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Old Fitzgerald 1849, 90pf, 1987

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Old Fitzgerald Prime 80pf, 750ml, 1988

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Old Fitzgerald Prime 80pf, liter, 1992

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Old Fitzgerald Bonded, 200ml, 1993

Old Fitzgerald bottled-in-bond 200 ml, circa 1993.  Note the UPC, government warning, ABV reference and faux green tax strip.  A ’93’ embossed on the bottom the glass date the bottle to 1993 or shortly thereafter.  To the best of my knowledge, Old Fitzgerald discontinued use of the faux tax strip seals within a year or two of this bottling.

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Old Fitzgerald Prime 80pf, 750ml, 1994

Old Fitzgerald Prime 80 proof 750 ml, circa 1994.  Note the UPC code, government warning and alcohol by volume reference which establishes the bottle to at least November 1989.  A ’94’ embossed on the bottom of the glass likely dates the bottle to 1994 or shortly thereafter.  An interesting detail to note is ‘inc.’ (incorporated) having been dropped from the Old Fitzgerald Distillery name around the 1994 timeframe, which further establishes the provenance of this bottle.  The unique embossed diamonds on the shoulder of this bottle are typical of the ‘diamond neck’ bottle design distributed during the early 1990’s.

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Old Fitzgerald Bonded, 375ml, 1996

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Old Fitzgerald Bonded, 750ml, 1997

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Old Fitzgerald Bonded, 200ml – 1999

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