Booze | October 19, 2020 11:45 am

A New York Couple Found a Bounty of Prohibition-Era Whiskey in Their Walls

A renovation project turned up bottles of bootlegger hooch dating back to 1923

Prohibition whiskey
An example of how bootleggers hid whiskey in the 1920s
Historica Graphica Collection/Heritage Images/Getty Images

A New York couple just discovered some added value to their home — in the form of Prohibition-era whiskey hidden in the walls.

Nick Drummond and Patrick Bakker of Ames, N.Y., were renovating their house when they discovered bootlegger bottles in the wooden exterior panels and beneath the floorboards of their mudroom, as reported by The Drinks Business.

In the latter area, Drummond wrote this update on Facebook after crawling around: “Instead of seeing floor joists, there are solid boards covering the underside of the joists, held in place with flat head screws. Bizarre. They would never have done that under an unfinished mudroom. And if for some reason they wanted to attach those boards 100 years ago, they would have used nails — not screws. Unless of course, they wanted to access it again in the future! With our curiosity piqued, we were able to pry the end off one of the joist bays by the hatch opening. Inside….more packages!!! There’s whiskey under the floors too!”

The couple (who refer to their house renovation and findings as “Days Of Our Lives meets Sherlock Holmes meets American Horror Story” on their Bootlegger Bungalow Facebook site) had heard rumors that the house had initially been owned by a German bootlegger named Adolph Humpfner. According to the Daily Gazette, the half-dozen bundles discovered were wrapped in tattered brown paper and tied with string; each bundle had six bottles of whiskey labeled “Old Smuggler” Gaelic Whiskey of the Stirling Bonding Company, signed by R.M. Clark and dated Oct. 23, 1923.

The back labels claim the bottles contain spirits of “a high degree of purity,” possessed of “excellent quality and flavour” and featuring the characteristic of “maturity.”

The couple hopes to eventually taste the surviving liquid and possibly install a glass floor so people can view the spaces where the bottles were hidden.

The good news for everyone else? This has happened before, so maybe now is the time to try a big house renovation project.

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