13 x 9 inches
A. Hatke & Co. was founded in 1867 by German immigrant Andrew Hatke (1834-1892) in Richmond, two years after the Civil War ended. Given the war-torn state Richmond and its people were in, there was a boom in drinking establishments at that time, with one belonging to Hatke. An 1880 census identifies Hatke as a grocer and barkeep, and it was common for grocers to double as rectifiers, blending whiskies to sell to the public. His status as barkeep, however, could also mean that he created whiskey from raw liquor supplied by various distilleries.
Like many distillers in Richmond, Hatke took advantage of the mail order system to serve a Southern customer base where locals were voting to ban alcohol at a growing rate. There were three railroad lines running from Richmond into the South, providing many options for transportation into dry counties. As prohibition became more widespread, Hatke’s profits grew. Andrew Hatke died before reaching 60, and his sons took over the business until prohibition reached Virginia in 1916 and forced them to close.
Although this whiskey jug appears to read “established 1887”, the second “8” is more than likely a smudged “6.”