Bernard’s Orange Bitters and a trip to Edinburgh, Scotland
PART OF THE ORANGE BITTERS SERIES
14 February 2014 R•050919)
Here we have yet another mysterious and unlisted ‘orange bitters‘ trade card from the Joe Gourd collection (see below). At first I thought that there was not much to go on but quickly located Richards and Harrison (William H. Richards and Robert J. Harrison) in San Francisco. On the back of the trade card, they are listed as Agents and Importers of Bernard’s Orange Bitters and Bernard’s Old Tom Gin. They also imported English, Scotch and Irish ales, porters, foreign wines and liquors. The good stuff. A ’boutique’ establishment for sure. So who is Bernard? We probably need to travel.
My first hit on Bernard takes us to Quebec where I find an 1865 advertisement (below) for Bernard & Co’s (trade mark) of Leith, Scotland. They actually mention the Old Tom Gin. Looks like we are going to cross the pond to look for this bitters.
Another search confirms that we are talking about Bernard & Company from Edinburgh, Scotland. This 1862 advertisement below shows that 50 cases of Bernard & Co’s Orange Bitters were ‘Just Received’ by W. H. Richards & Co. at 708 Sansome Street in San Francisco. Note that Old Tom Gin was also included in the shipment.
Thomas and James Bernard (Thomas & James Bernard LTD) began brewing at the Edinburgh Brewery, North Back Canongate, Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1840. Thomas Bernard died in 1874 and was succeeded by his two sons, Daniel and John Mackay Bernard. Thomas Bernard & Co. was then established as maltsters in 1874. The original site became too small and a new Edinburgh Brewery was opened in Slateford Road, on the western edge of the city, in 1888.
A dispute arose between Daniel and John Mackay Bernard soon after the opening of the new brewery and in April 1889. Daniel Bernard left the business to set up his own brewery at nearby Gorgie, Edinburgh, Scotland. In March 1895, Thomas & James Bernard & Co. Ltd. was registered as a limited liability company to acquire the business. In 1960 the company was taken over by Scottish Brewers Ltd, Edinburgh, Scotland, and ceased to brew.
The Noted Breweries of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol 3, (London, 1890)
So Bernard’s Orange Bitters will be a new listing in Ring & Ham and I have no bottles or graphics to show you for the brand. The bitters must have been shipped globally, as I find advertisements in far-away places like San Francisco, Quebec and New Zealand.
The new listing for the forthcoming Bitters Bottles Supplement 2:
B 87.8 BERNARD’S ORANGE BITTERS, (front: nature scenes with deer, reverse: three columns of imported products) Richards & Harrison, Agents & Importers, 314 and 316 Battery Street
Thomas & James Bernard LTD, Edinburgh, Scotland
Richards & Harrison (William H. Richards and Robert J. Harrison), Importers of English, Scotch and Irish Ales and Porters, and foreign Wines and Liquors, San Francisco.
Select Timeline Events
1840: Thomas and James Bernard (Thomas & James Bernard & Co.) began brewing at the Edinburgh Brewery, North Back Canongate, Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1840. – The Noted Breweries of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol 3, (London, 1890)
1862: W.H. Richards & Company advertisement (see above), 708 Sansome Street, San Francisco. 50 cases of Bernard & Co’s Orange Bitters Just Received – Daily Alta (San Francisco) California, 28 August 1862
1865: Advertisement (see below) for Bernard & Co.’s Old Tom Gin – Quebec Morning Chronicle, November 13, 1865
1870: Listing (see below) – Richards & Harrison, Importers of English, Scotch and Irish Ales and Porters, and foreign Wines and Liquors. Corner Battery and Commercial Streets, San Francisco – 1870 Pacific Coast Railroad Gazetteer
1874: Richards & Harrison advertisement (below), W.H. Richards and R.J. Harrison, 314 and 316 Battery Street – The California Horticulturist and Floral Magazine, 1874
1874: Thomas Bernard & Co. was established as maltsters in 1874 in Scotland.
1886: Listing (see below) – Richards & Harrison (William H. Richards and Robert J. Harrison) importers and wholesale dealers in English ale, porter, foreign wines, liquors, groceries, etc., 401-403 Sansome – 1884 San Francisco City Directory
1895: Thomas Bernard & Co. Ltd, became a limited liability company. – The Noted Breweries of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol 3, (London, 1890)
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