Jacob Rieger & Company was founded in 1887 in Kansas City’s West Bottoms Livestock Exchange district. The brand offered over 100 alcoholic products and took pride in maintaining a quarter of a million unique customers by offering mail-order delivery services. In 1919, Prohibition was enacted by the federal government and wasn’t reversed until 1933. J. Rieger & Co. was a casualty at the time, but was not destined to be lost forever. 95 years after Prohibition, we can officially say that the historic and iconic spirits brand of Kansas City is back!
Fueled by a rich history and an auspicious future, we were inspired to create a collection that matched the compelling story behind Rieger Whiskey. We felt the resurrection of Jacob Rieger & Company was the perfect embodiment of our moniker "Vintage Made Fresh." The brand was revived by Andy Rieger, the great-great-great-grandson of Jacob Rieger, and Ryan Maybee, the owner and proprietor of the Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange including the Manifesto. This would prove to be the perfect partnership for the revived J. Rieger Co., combining industry experience, business acumen, and prestigious bloodlines.
Upon meeting the men behind bringing this iconic brand back to life, we instantly formed a friendship. Andy Rieger sat down with us and answered a few questions regarding Rieger Whiskey and our collaboration.
ME: What made you want to resurrect Rieger Whiskey?
ANDY: Back in 2010, the concept of craft distilling was just starting to become cool. We felt that the distillery could be cooler than any liquor brand out there if we did a tremendous job telling the story and properly displaying the brand. Being that our backgrounds are so vastly different, we thought that our combination of business and industry knowledge would give us a leg up in the start-up process and ultimately give us the highest chance of success.
ME: What makes your brand unique?
ANDY: What doesn't? Founded in 1887, died with Prohibition, resurrected after being dead for 95 years. We love that if people know the basic facts about our distillery, they will see why it is so special.
ME: What was the driving force behind wanting to collaborate with us (Charlie Hustle)?
ANDY: Charlie Hustle is a brand that the people of KC take pride in. We are motivated by engaging people in our city to the point that they understand our brand and can take pride in us, too. In essence, we're the same company, in different industries.
Our goal was to delve into the expansive history connected to the company, and capitalize on the classic design and branding at our disposal.
BEST ON EARTH
We wanted to create an image that embodied the easy drinking nature of Rieger Whiskey. The idea was to match the simplicity of the classic cocktail with historical marketing pieces from the early days. We drew from pieces used on vintage shot glasses and product catalogs to comprise the imagery.
The company's famous Monogram Whiskey was a consistent product during the 32 years the distillery was operational leading up to Prohibition. This t-shirt pays homage to this Rieger relic. The design was captured from a vintage whiskey jug, t
his jug is a rare collectible item and its capacity alone would deem it illegal per today’s Federal regulations.
It is unknown if J. Rieger & Co. actually had multiple styles of Whiskey or if various forms of labeling were used for marketing purposes. This tee was inspired by one of those marketing ploys as another brand offered in the pre-Prohibition years, Tiger’s Head Whiskey. Drawing from vintage branding we put our own spin on the design. Incorporating the classic whiskey elements with sports themes seen in the tiger seal and overall composition.
O! SO GOOD
Inspired by a shot glass, one of the most common items that the J. Rieger & Co. distillery offered in their product line of alcoholic accessories. The Company’s slogan, “O! So Good” was featured on every shot glass the Company produced. When Andy Rieger and Ryan Maybee revived the company after a 95 year hiatus, the also revived this slogan. Attached as the security seal on every bottle of Rieger's Kansas City Whiskey, you can find "O! So Good" adorned perfectly across the length of the seal.
It has been a true joy to get to work on this project with such a prestigious company, and the men running the show. It's an incredible encouragement to see a company pursue a dream and see it come to fruition. A big thanks to J. Rieger Co. for letting us be a part of your story, and helping educate others on the immense history behind the brand. Be a part of the story! You can find all of the products featured here in our Prohibition Collection.