Greeley’s Bourbon Bitters – A Great Boston Bitters Barrel

“These popular Bitters possess all the nourishing and invigorating properties of Old Bourbon Whisky”


23 February 2012 (R•110414) (R•110814) (R•091516)



Apple-Touch-IconAWow, what a plug for Greeley’s. While many bitters used an abundance of adjectives describing exotic roots and herbs to embellish the mysterious medicinal healing qualities of the product, it seems that the W.F. and A.W. Greeley of Greeley’s Bourbon Bitters and Greeley’s Bourbon Whiskey Bitters decided to pull no punches with the product name and advertising (see advertisement further below).

Fully labeled Greeley’s Bourbon Bitters – Foxsonic Image

I did a post recently on Bourbon Whiskey Bitters (read: Peach colored Bourbon Whiskey Bitters added to Color Run) and wanted to follow up with a comparative post for Greeley’s Bourbon Bitters. These Greeley’s Bourbon Bitters have been added to my Color page on my site.

The Carlyn Ring and W.C. Ham listing in Bitters Bottles is as follows::

[PRG] *note that the San Francisco advertisement for Greeley’s Bourbon Bitters (pictured) is dated 1861. It would be safe to assume that this product was made in 1860 and possibly earlier. Look at the example pictured that is double pontiled. This really raises an eyebrow.

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W.F. and A.W. Greeley Boston, Massachusetts
9 3/8 x 2 3/8
Round-barrel, 10-10, FM, Applied mouth, Amber, Puce, Plum, Pink and Copper Common;
Green – Scarce; Aqua and Yellow – Very rare

G 101 Greeley’s Bourbon Bitters color run – Meyer Collection


“GREELEY’S BOURBON / BITTERS”, (Ring/Ham G-101), Massachusetts, ca. 1865 – 1875, medium smoky olive with topaz tone barrel, 9 1/4”h, smooth base, applied mouth, 97% original label. Pristine condition. One of the only ‘green’ Greeley’s to have an original label. As an extra added attraction a sizable piece of glass from another bottle that probably remained in the mold from the prior blow is adhered to the side of the base. Purchased from Cobweb Bottles in 1971. – Glass Works Auctions #112 – Bob Ferraro Collection – Session 1

Greeley’s Bourbon Bitters label – Recent eBay

Left Circle: These bitters prepared of pure old Bourbon Whiskey and possess all its stimulating tonic and medicinal power. Modified and improved in its action on the system by the addition of many simple alternative and bitter tonics making them invaluable. A remedy in the treatment of lung complaints, bronchitis, dyspepsia, liver complaints and general debility and weakness of the system.

Center Circle: Greeley’s Bourbon Bitters,

Right Circle: A wine glassful should be taken before each meal. Ladies and children should begin with less quantity and increase. As an agreeable stomachic these bitters are unsurpassed.

Greeley’s Bourbon Bitters label – Image

Greeley’s Bourbon Bitters double pontil – Stecher Collection

Greeley’s Bourbon Bitters label – eBay

Greeley’s Bourbon Bitters in an odd straw coloration – Meyer Collection

“Greeley’s Bourbon / Bitters”, America, 1860 – 1875. Light to medium clear olive green, barrel form, applied square collared mouth – smooth base, ht. 9 ¼”, perfect! R/H #G101. A spectacular piece, perhaps the finest known example of a Greeley’s barrel in terms of color and condition. A rare, outstanding color having virtually no amber or smoke tone as is typically encountered. Pictured in “A Treasury of American Bottles,” p.9. Provenance: Ex. Dr. Burton Spiller collection. – American Glass Gallery Auction #9


Three fantastic Greeley’s Bourbon Bitters from the Jack Stecher collection.


“GREELEY’S / BOURBON BITTERS”, (Ring/Ham, G-101), Massachusetts, ca. 1865 – 1875, medium pinkish topaz barrel, 9 3/8”h, smooth base, applied mouth, 98% original labels. – Glass Works Auction 105


“GREELEY’S BOURBON / BITTERS”, (Ring/Ham G-101), Massachusetts, ca. 1865 – 1875, medium apricot puce with a hint of topaz barrel, 9 1/8”h, smooth base, applied mouth. About perfect. Purchased from Cranmer in 1970. – Glass Works Auctions #112 – Bob Ferraro Collection – Session 1


Greeley’s Bourbon Bitters advertisement – Chicago Tribune, 1860

Greeley’s Bourbon Bitters advertisement from The Golden Era – San Francisco, California – Sunday, February 24, 1861


Greeley’s Bourbon Bitters full column page advertisement from The National Republican (Washington, D.C.), December 1861


The Worcester Directory – Advertisement for Dr. Greeley – 1867

Read more on Figural Barrels

Figural Barrel Series – Hall’s Bitters

Barrel series – Original Pocahontas Bitters

Figural Barrel Series – Hall’s Bitters

Greeley’s Bourbon Whiskey Bitters – aka Vertical Greeley’s

Peach colored Bourbon Whiskey Bitters added to Color Run

About Ferdinand Meyer V

Ferdinand Meyer V is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and has a BFA in Fine Art and Graphic Design from the Kansas City Art Institute and School of Design. Ferdinand is the founding Principal of FMG Design, a nationally recognized design consultation firm. Ferdinand is a passionate collector of American historical glass specializing in bitters bottles, color runs and related classic figural bottles. He is married to Elizabeth Jane Meyer and lives in Houston, Texas with their daughter and three wonderful grandchildren. The Meyers are also very involved in Quarter Horses, antiques and early United States postage stamps. Ferdinand is the past 6-year President of the Federation of Historical Bottle Collectors and is one of the founding members of the FOHBC Virtual Museum.
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