Saturday, June 25, 2011

'Old Crow' Tea sold fast

New Orleans Times Picayune Publishing Company
June 4, 1920

But Officer Carrigan's Nose Was Sharper
Than Rampart Street Eyes; and Now the
Vendor Languishes in Jail for Trial
You can fool some whiskey drinkers all the time, and all whiskey drinkers some of the time, but it's the next thing to impossible to fool all the whiskey drinkers all the time.
And fooling Patrolman James Carrigan, a son of Erin who walks a beat in the First Precinct, all the time on Irish elixir is an accomplishment which Lawrence Reif fell down hard on Thursday.
Any good Irishman knows whiskey from 'cold tea.'
Lawrence, who is a painter and lives at 1038 Baronne Street became imbued with the spirit of J. Rufus Wallingford the other day. He procured several late and lamented Old Crow whiskey quart bottles and filled same with a very strong concoction of tea.
Then another bright thought hit Lawrence. His eye caught a United Cigar Stores premium coupon and without further ado he touched the coupons up with a pen and pasted them upon the camouflage Old Crow bottles. They looked exactly like U. S. government bond certificates.
Walking up and down South Rampart Street, Reif was surprised to see how readly he could sell quarts of tea for $5 per quart. It is said he even sold one to an aged and shrewd-looking person who conducts one of those establishments trade-marked with tree gilded balls above the doorway.
Business Excellent
Repairing to his domicile, Lawrence thereupon brewed himself another batch of tea, dug up more ex-Old Crow bottles and additional cigar coupons, loaded two bottles in an innocent-looking ìshopping bagî and ? forth to gather more coin.
He returned to the scene of this earlier successes determining to work one neighborhood well before going to another and to branch out then and continue as long as the supply of Old Crow bottles lasted.
He walked into the store of August Mazzola, 800 South Rampart Street, about tea time Thursday afternoon.
Now, it so happens that August is a cousin to R. Lanasa, 524 S. Rampart Street; that Mr. Lanasa only two days previously had purchased two quarts of tea at five buck per throw; and that Mr. Lanasa in his anguish had related the story of the calamity to his cousin.
Holding tight to Reif, Mazzola yelled for the police. Officer Carrigan hurried to the scene and soon the two bottles of 'Old Crow' and Reif were in the hands of the law.
The bottles looked so real that Patrolman Carrigan felt himself obliged to take a whiff of the contents to know whether he should turn the man over to federal authorities for obtaining money under false pretenses.
Nose Test Decides
A cork was lifted and Officer Carrigan applied his nose.
"Sure, and it 's nothin' but tay," he said, though he afterward admitted he knew little of Sir Thomas
Lipton's brew. One thing he did know though, and that was that the bottle did not contain booze.
The crowd gathered and David Aronwitz, tailor of 542 South Rampart Street, told how he had been taken in for a bottle of 'Old Crow.' Others confessed, and all cried for Reif's blood.
Federal authorities will be asked to investigate Reif's arrest, it is said. And yet, Reif hardly can be
charged with peddling contraband whiskey, because Patrolman Carrigan will vouch for it that there wasn't the semblance of whiskey or alcohol in Reifís brew.
Meantime, there are many merchants and residents of South Rampart street who still are grieving over being outdone at a bargain, in the making of which they long have held enviable reputations.

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