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Henry Sadler Sold Whiskey in the Shadow of the Mormon Temple
The landscape of Salt Lake City, Utah, is dominated by the spires of the Mormon Temple. Forty years in the building, its five tall spires rise on the city’s center block, known as Temple Square. It is considered the center of the Mormon religion, a faith that strongly discourages drinking. Yet just a little over a block way in full view of the Temple spires, Henry Sadler successfully ran a saloon and sold whiskey to both a wholesale and retail trade.
Shown below is the front window of Sadler’s Mercantile Company. It was located on South Main Street, a major thoroughfare that originates immediately south of Temple Square. Note that the window contains full a display of “Old Ripy,” a well-known Kentucky bourbon. Sadler featured such other Kentucky brands as the equally famous, “Taylor & Williams Yellowstone” and “Paul Jones.” From Maryland distillers he was sole agent for both “Mt. Vernon Rye” and “Old Hunter Rye.”
Sadler’s sales room occupied the front portion of the building and was 24 by 75 feet in dimensions. The center was the saloon portion of the establishment where Budweiser could be had on draught. In the rear was the bottling and shipping departments. According to The Deseret News, a Salt Lake daily owned by the Mormon Church: “The company [is] extensive bottlers of fine wines and liquors and have every modern facility for bottling, corking and labeling, the packages they put up are noted for their neatness as well as purity and excellence of contents.”
Among those packages were ceramic jugs of several sizes, including jugs in quart and gallon size, shown here. These have been attributed to the famous Redwing potteries of Minnesota. Sadler was buying raw whiskeys by the barrel and blending them before decanting them into those containers. This wholesale trade was implemented by a team of traveling salesmen whose territory included the entire states of Utah and Idaho and parts of Colorado and Nevada.
Sadler also was bottling whiskey under his own labels for the retail and mail order trade. Shown here are bottles of his “Old Valley Whiskey,” obtained from the Cook & Bernheimer Co. of New York, and a blended “Maryland Rye.” Boasting annual business worth in excess of $2 million in today’s dollar, Sadler’s Mercantile was promoted by the Deseret News in October 1900 as unexcelled in the completeness and diversity of its goods.