Alcohol in the Oregon Country?

Discussion in 'Rocky Mountain Fur Trade' started by hyuzu, Feb 5, 2020.

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  1. Feb 5, 2020 #1

    hyuzu

    hyuzu

    hyuzu

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    Prior to the Oregon Trail migrations, what sort of regulations did fur trade companies like the HBC and NWC have regarding alcohol at their trade posts in the Oregon Country? I'm particularly curious about any regulations concerning the sale of alcohol to Indians, as well as whether there were any rationing limits or restricted days where people in the trade posts were prohibited from consuming alcohol.
     
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  2. Feb 10, 2020 #2

    David Sbur

    David Sbur

    David Sbur

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    Earliest mention of making alcohol in the Oregon Territory that I know of, Sauvie (Wapato) Island just downstream from Ft. Vancouver. Just a factoid I knew of...

    https://www.oregon.com/attractions/oregon-trail-timeline-1831-1840

    "In 1836, Ewing YOUNG and Lawrence CARMICHAEL attempted to found a distillery at Wyeth's (abandoned) Ft. William on Wapato Island. This prompted the immediate organization of the first Oregon Temperance Society and an offer by John MCLOUGHLIN, 9 Americans, and 15 French Canadians to buy out the distillery company. Young refused the offer but closed the distillery in favor of a saw- and grist-mill business. (According to Rev. Frost, the first batch of liquor, ready in December 1836, proved to have no alcoholic kick.)"
     
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  3. Feb 10, 2020 #3

    Carbon 6

    Carbon 6

    Carbon 6

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    HBC kept really good records, 24 % of what they traded to the Indians was classified as "alcohol and tobacco".
    I seem to recall that there was a short period of time when I think trading alcohol was banned, but it didn't last very long as it was difficult to enforce and gave an advantage to competitors.

    Lewis and Clark took alcohol for trade on their expedition. They wrote about how many tribes loved alcohol, but there was one tribe that wouldn't touch the stuff. I don't remember the name though.

    Lastly, don't forget that the Russians traded along the coast.
     
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  4. Feb 11, 2020 #4

    David Sbur

    David Sbur

    David Sbur

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    I can also tell you the 1848 inventory at Fort Vancouver lists 2 copper stills with worms (the spiral condenser tubes coming out of the top). By that time they had been farming wheat and barley at Vancouver and also Cowlitz Farm to the north.

    http://npshistory.com/publications/fova/hsr/chap1-2.htm

    Fort Hall had 2 gallons of rum in store in 1834 https://user.xmission.com/~drudy/mtman/html/fthall/init_inv.html

    And 35 gallons cached also (see Sundries cached) https://user.xmission.com/~drudy/mtman/html/fthall/cache.html
     
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  5. Feb 11, 2020 #5

    Carbon 6

    Carbon 6

    Carbon 6

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    The Star Brewery was a successor to one of the earliest brewing enterprises in the Washington Territory. It was originally John Muench's Vancouver Brewery, established in 1856, near Fort Vancouver. A young, immigrant brewer from Germany, Henry Weinhard, joined Muench for about six months and then went across the river to a settlement that would eventually become the city of Portland. Here he started his own brewery, but the settlement was growing too slowly, and he shut down his brewery and returned to Fort Vancouver. In 1859, Weinhard bought the Vancouver Brewery from Muench.
     
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