The Whiskey Trust was an oddity during the late nineteenth century in that it was one of the few failed monopolies of the era. Although most monopolies prospered by dominating their industries, the Whiskey Trust could not control the whiskey business and ultimately failed.
During the late nineteenth century, many industries evolved into
The trust ran into some opposition, however. The distillers of the Whiskey Trust produced blended whiskeys of neutral spirits with artificial flavoring, a technique that clashed with those of traditional bourbon producers in Kentucky, Tennessee, and other states. The bourbon producers refused to join the Whiskey Trust, and the trust was not powerful enough to drive the bourbon producers out of business. The trust also could not control all the numerous independent and small-scale producers. Distilling was a relatively simple process, and the trust could not drive all competitors out of the market. Intense competition actually caused the trust to temporarily enter receivership in 1895. The trust was also the target of government investigations for charges of tax evasion and bribery of public officials.
The death blow to the trust, however, was the advent of
Clay, Karen, and Werner Troesken. “Strategic Behavior in Whiskey Distilling, 1887-1895.” The Journal of Economic History 62, no. 4 (December, 2002): 999-1023. Troesken, Werner. “Exclusive Dealing and the Whiskey Trust, 1890-1895.” The Journal of Economic History 58, no. 3 (September, 1998): 755-778. Waymack, Mark, and James Harris. The Book of Classic American Whiskeys. New York: Open Court, 1995.
Alcoholic beverage industry
Whiskey tax of 1791