Wisconsin’s Only Distillery Located in Crandon

Hello Forest County Residents!

Did you know that the first distillery to be built after prohibition was located in Crandon? W.B. Gambill Distillery was the only distillery operating in Wisconsin from 1937 to 1950. According to the Rhinelander Daily News (Aug. 30 1955)

” They distilled rye and bourbon whiskey and neutral spirits selling them in bulk in 1937. There was a bottling house in connection with the plant but the firm did not bottle any of its whiskey until after WWII. From 1942-45 the company processed alcohol spirits for the Defense Supply Corporation of the U.S. Government. At its peak the company employed 35 people. After the company lost the business of the U.S. Government they could not compete with the national distilleries and had to sell the company to Streckert Plywood Corporation”.

Steve Conway Jr. recalled the distillery in an interview “There was a distillery on Clear Lake. Now there is a company there that makes cutting boards and stuff like that. During WWII they made alcohol at the distillery. They had oak barrels that were burned on the inside. They stored the alcohol in the charcoal barrels. They made Seagrams liquor there. Some of the barrels were seven or eight years old when they shut the plant down. During WWII they made alcohol for torpedoes. They would burn alcohol to propel the torpedoes. After the war the company failed and the distillery closed”.

 Pictured in the photo is C Everett Beam (center) of Jim Beam fame and W.B. Gambill ("Be Seated by Bemis: A 100-Year History of Bemis Manufacturing, 2001)
Pictured in the photo is C Everett Beam (center) of Jim Beam fame and W.B. Gambill (Be Seated by Bemis: A 100-Year History of Bemis Manufacturing, 2001)

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