August 6, 2011. Samuel Valero
Before glass bottles were regularly used as the containers for liquor such as whiskey it was stored and sold in pottery jugs. The jugs were made from a type of stoneware that is commonly known as stoneware and the jugs themselves are also known as crocks.
These crocks are heavy and the fine grain of the clay that was used ensured that the contents were not only held in a watertight container but they were also kept cool and fresh.
These stoneware jugs were made in a wide range of sizes from the very small quart jugs to more significant five gallon jugs. The cream and dark brown glaze that was used in the vast majority of antique moonshine jugs have become easily recognizable making them valuable collector items today. Variations on the more usual styles were also available as lighter colored jugs that were decorated with an identifying stamp as a means of displaying the company logo and year of manufacture.
Apart from the fact that they have enormous decorative qualities these jugs have become objects of great interest with collectors because of the historical significance and interest that they hold. It is possible to trace the progress of many of the early whiskey distillers as they merged with other companies and grew or diminished in success.
It is also possible to track the progression in popular styles as well with the subtle changes in the way the jugs were made over the years. The profile of these jugs can be seen to become more streamlined and the techniques used to create them have improved to smooth the lines.
Buying stoneware whiskey jugs is particularly easy these days with many of them being offered for sale online every day. There is some care that should be taken, particularly when buying some of the older items. Chips and cracks can seriously affect the value of a pottery jug and could mean that the jug is completely unusable so it pays to conduct a thorough examination before making an offer.
Updated August 6, 2011. Published June 1, 2011. Samuel Valero