Wood: Antique White Oak (Quercus alba) and Cypress (Taxodium distichum)
History: In 1946, two twin brothers, Mario Morpugo and Bruno Morel opened a warehouse in Brooklyn to import brandy and vermouth, with the mission ‘to bring the fruits of Italy’s finest liqueurs, spirits and wines to America’, Bruno built the company up to be a leading importer of quality drinks.. The brothers emigrated from Triste, Italy, shortly before World War II and fought for the United States during the conflict. After opening shop, they worked with the Stock label, known as a premier vermouth distiller throughout Europe. Following the success of their operation, in 1958 they moved to 58-58 Laurel Hill Boulevard in Queens and opened a distillery to make their own alcohol, where there for the rest of their lives.
Stock Distillery Co. itself was founded in 1884 by grant of Austro-Hungarian Empress Maria Theresa, given a charter to sell its beverage as ‘Cognac Medicinal.’ At its height, the Stock operated 18 plants in 15 different countries. In 2007 the company was bought by Oaktree Capital Management, a private equity firm with in excess of $58 billion in assets under management (at June 2008), and consolidated under Heritage Brands, Inc. and then changed to Stock Spirits Group USA, Inc. The distillery in Queens has been converted to largely office space and the casks were removed in 2009.and which was founded a few months earlier to provide strategic mission, vision and direction.
The casks, now 54 years old, were made of white oak and cypress. Though it’s difficult to tell where the wood was coming from during the post-war era, it is likely that they are North America.
White oak is found from southern Quebec west to eastern Minnesota and south to northern Florida and eastern Texas. The wood is strong, tough, heavy and durable, making it perfect for use as a cask. It is also has a tight cellular structure that makes it water- and rot-resistant, allowing for the curing of fine spirits, including wine, whiskey and vermouth.
Cypress is a very versatile wood, known for its durability. It generates its own preservative oil, cypressene, making it naturally resistant to insects, decay and the elements. It is found all over the world and in a variety of different species.
– Luke McGeehan
27 Hannover Pl., Brooklyn
THE BUILDING Built: c. 1915Location: Harlem, ManhattanBuilding Type: Mixed Use