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George Benz was born in Osthfen Germany in 1838 and emigrated to Chicago, Ill. in 1853. He would leave Chicago three years later and in 1856 relocated to St. Paul, Minn. for the remainder of his life.

George would marry Rosa Uoehringer in 1861 and together have eight children, five sons and three daughters. In 1861 he would open a billiards hall and restaurant. The name of this business was The United States Billiards Hall & Restaurant. In 1865 he would partner with Mayor C. J. Becht and go in to the wholesale liquor business. Mr. Becht would die in 1878 and George Benz would become the sole owner of the wholesale business. George would bring his five sons in the business with him and rename the company to Geo Benz & Sons in 1887.

The company main office was located at 81 east 6th St. in St. Paul, Minn. The company would flourish and George expanded into other states having distilleries in Kentucky, Indiana, Maryland and Penn.

George had many brand names but his most famous was the Old Blue Ribbon Whiskey. This brand was nationally known and was produced in Kentucky at the Eminence Distillery. George would also produce the Appetine Bitters with was in a fancy bottle. This Bitters would have no medical claims. Below is a photo of one of the two variants of the large style bottle. The bottle is embossed GEO. BENZ / & / SON'S / APPETINE / BITTERS / ST. PAUL, MINN. (Bottom embossed PAT // NOV 23 / 1897) There also are three smaller sizes of this bottle.


George would die in 1908 at the age of sixty nine. His sons would keep the business going until 1918, then abandoning the liquor business and go into the real estate business.

Below is a advertisement.

benz bitters ad

Below is a photo of a labeled Benz whiskey flask called Uncle Sam.

benz whiskey flask


The Bottles Breweriana and Advertising Jugs of Minn. by Ron Feldhaus.

The American Whiskey Jug by Jack Sullivan.

Bitters Bottle by Carlyn Ring & W. C. Ham.

Frank & Frank JR. (Wicker) Bottle Collection.

geo benz a

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