Pre-Prohibition Booze Found in Attic

A Missouri man suspects the vintage pre-Prohibition whiskey he found hidden in his attic was stashed there by a former resident before he went off to rehab. 

Bryan Fite and his wife, Emily, received a record of the owners of the house, which was built in St. Joseph in the 1850s, and discovered one of the owners had been shipped off to a sanitarium "for alcohol reasons." 

Fite said the 13 bottles concealed under the floorboards were full and firmly corked and probably were intended for a personal welcome home party. "Unfortunately, he never got the chance," Fite told ABC. 

The turn-of-the-century liquor was distilled before World War I and bottled in 1917. It includes four bottles of Hellman's Celebrated Old Crow and a few bottles of Gukenheimer rye. Whiskey made before the 1920s when Prohibition derailed the U.S. distillery business can fetch a good price from collectors. 

The Fites aren't necessarily ready to part with the entire collection. They plan to sample some of it in 2017 when the bottles turn 100 years old. 

"Part of the allure for me is having them in their original state," said Fite, a confirmed bourbon man. "I have high expectations of what they'll taste like, and I'm afraid if I open them I'll be disappointed."

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