The Long Pond Chronicles, Part 3: Inventory Day At Myers

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Welcome to the third installment of the Long Pond chronicles where we look at an obscure cache of papers related to Seagram’s mid 20th century purchase of the legendary Long Pond distillery and rum merchants Sherriff & Myers. The first installment can be found here and the second here. Don’t expect too much from these documents because they really just represent me selecting interesting pages from over 3000 I read that mainly covered bland aspects of corporate formation. You are going to feel like its your first day on the sales team back in 1953 and that is either kind of cool or not. There will be marks galore, never before seen this prominently, but they will just be cryptic letters on a page and the future knuckle tattoos of Brooklyn bartenders. We just don’t learn enough! Its a total tease!

This short edition looks at Myers who hasn’t really been mentioned yet. We see some pretty cool stuff. Myers held an epic inventory stretching back to the 19th century and may have been a pioneer of barrels for rum maturation as opposed to larger puncheons.

We start with a snapshot of a year at Myers. There is some very cool stuff going on here. If I’m interpreting this correct, Myers was selling rum from 1944 in 1953! We also see some red ink which wasn’t discernible when I printed this in black & white to take notes. Whats with 1947? We know from the History of the Rum Pool that nothing too amazing happened that year production wise. That year saw a record production, but also a low amount of continental flavoured rum made because of uncertainly in Germany. 1947 was also the first year that the Distiller’s Corporation (Seagrams) entered the Rum Pool. Nothing too amazing happened in 1945 or 1946 either so maybe they simply sold all that rum already?

We get a little clarification and see that Myers held extremely small quantities of 1945 and 1946. Notice the present crops are held in containers worth thousands and the aged crops by the tens! We do not know how large each container is nor its value and we cannot assume its all puncheons for older stuff, but I bet my bar program at work could single handedly wipe a few vintages of the list if you give us a few weeks!

The middle column is the value of rum in pounds and the right column is value of the containers themselves in pounds. If we assume each container has the same size and value in a cluster of years, the right column becomes a proxy for the amount of containers.

Which years containers are the most valuable? 1895 is worth 6.71 times the container value while 1905 jumps to 21.14. What could that tell us? I’ve had one 19th century rum and it was lame. 1906 climbs again to 30.40, 1907 is 27.04, and 1908 is 66.36! How do we interpret this? Marks must matter even in extremely mature rum.

That red pen definitely meant losses, but look how rare they are. First, it is interesting that they sold any incredibly ancient rum at all or could this mean it was transferred to a blend and the profit accounted for. Second, it is interesting that some of the very oldest years moved and then there is a gap until you hit 1944. Whats that all about? How do the regular years differ from the vintage vats? Where do different marks come into play? The returns on investment for some of those very old rums doesn’t look too bad.

Personally, I’ve been most interested in those stocks of very old rum and calculating in my head how much of it I could personally consume and here we get a little more clarity. It is 43 puncheons, 32 hogsheads, 19 barrels, and 49 small containers which are no doubt glass demi-johns. I could only probably fit half of it in my basement if I left a narrow path to get to the laundry. This old rum represent only 3.4% of the book value whereas 1949 still represented 19.5% of the book value. A sliver of Guiana rum is on the books and notice that 100% of it is in barrels, not puncheons. Containers appear to represent a very substantial inventory cost.

More answers are revealed to questions we just asked and we are given a detailed break down. We even see the marks! Most of those oldest vintages are in small containers and no doubt this parallels what we know of Cognac storage. Spirits typically are moved to glass to prevent any further angel’s share while they await their fate. Myers used a lot of small containers once their stocks hit 25 years+, however they still appeared to keep a few in puncheons.

encircled E is lost
ME is lost (we see this mark as encircled ME in another version of this table) [My guess is ME is Mona Estate which closed in first decade of the 20th century]
LP is the Worthy Park common clean
MLV [M/LV Ewing’s Caymana, St. Catherine from a 1903 document]
EMB is the Bog estate common clean that went to Monymusk in 1949 [also in use from the 1903 document]
RCG may relate to R/IGC which is a Frome common clean
CJE is the common clean from Caymanas
MPG is lost
MHEM is lost
APGW is lost
PIW a.k.a. P/IW is from Frome approximating wedderburn
TTL a.k.a. TT/L is from Llandovery and a common clean with distinctive flavour

The last lost mark appeared in 1922 and after that we recognize all of them.

IWC a.k.a. I/WC is common clean of “higher quality” from Raheen estate which moved to Appleton in 1948
PGR is a common clean from Jamaica Sugar Estates
CJE is the common clean from Caymanas
STC♥E is the super wedderburn from Cambridge estate before it moved to Long Pond in 1948
PIW a.k.a. P/IW is from Frome approximating wedderburn
◊H is a continental flavoured rum from Hampden

That may be the very same 1944 STC♥E we saw offered for sale in a letter in the last section.

I’m not sure how to interpret this table. CH/II is the Barnett common clean. H could be ◊H from Hampden and we know LP is is the Worthy Park common clean. Could Myers vats be marked GRW? I don’t understand how the next series of information is broken up because we see multiple vat numbers but only one mark per vat number. NYEM very likely represents the first vintage of New Yarmouth and likely a common clean. My understanding is that New Yarmouth only started producing heavier marks many decades later after fears Hampden might close.  “S”, we confirm later is S♥, a Frome common clean. EMB is the Bog estate common clean that went to Monymusk in 1949.

This information becomes hard to parse but we see that the Myers vats of that era relied on a lot of the same common clean marks (Caymans, Worthy Park, Bog) and was an early adopter of New Yarmouth.

PIW a.k.a. P/IW is from Frome approximating wedderburn
SF is likely S♥F, the Frome common clean making S also likely S♥, the Frome common clean
CAC a.k.a. C/AC is a common clean from Frome
RIGC a.k.a. R/IGC is another common clean from Frome
ROWN a.k.a. R/ONW is a common clean from Richmond
You know the rest by now! Does any of this add up to Myers being kind of light relatively for Jamaica? Not many wedderburns…

A typewriter has limitation and finally someone comes in with a pen to help us out!

◊HL is the common clean from United Estates
RH is the common clean from Rose Hall

The usual suspects!

Myers around the world!

Drinking Myers in Palestine!

Last but not least!

Martin Doorly & Co. of Barbados was once owned by Myers?

[Edwin Charlie reference]

This first paragraph becomes key to helping us understand what we saw in all those inventory tables. Myers was apparently a pioneer of “small wood” barrels as opposed to larger puncheons. They also had vats of the same marks from the same vintages as seen in those tables. This is kind of unique because on the one hand small wood would age fast in a tropical environment and on the other vats would mature very little. What is the rhyme or reason? What went where?

[Edwin Charlie reference]

This is how you organize the purchase of a sprawling rum company. This is so damn cool. Did you ever think we would see this?

What follows is another version of the large inventory we already looked at but if you take the time you can notice some differences. For starters, that 1895 ME mark is encircled just like the encircled E. PR may not be a mark but a prefix for a vat as seen in the other version of this data.

A 1925/41 blend appears. How does something like that come about?

M/R◊S is a common clean from Monymusk. FLMS is not a mark but an abbreviation associated with Myer’s vats.

If Hampden’s ◊H went in 231 barrels in 1954, does that mean that Myers showed up with their own cooperage?

Well that is all until the next installment!

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