Monday, April 20, 2009

Francis Cassin, the older brother has somewhat better luck!

After chatting with Roger Terry on some western whiskey history, the counterfeiting of the A. P Hotaling [Cutter] bottles by E. Martin reminded me somewhat of the sequel story concerning the older Cassin brother's [Francis] dealings.

F & P. J. Cassin having launched their Grape Brandy Bitters product in 1867, and promoting it throughout the Pacific Slope region hoping to gain a foothold in the up and coming bitters market, must have been a bit perplexed to watch another bitters product come onto the market about a year later and begin to show a remarkable marketing success with it. Louis Gross & Co. were the manufacturers of the celebrated Dr. Henley's Wild Grape Root IXL Bitters and it was not long before the Cassin brothers decided that they needed to promote their own version of this successful bitters product. In November of 1868, they began promoting Cassin's California Wild Grape Root XXX Bitters. Well, that tore it with Gross & Co. and the Cassin's found themselves in court again! On December 2nd, 1868 an injunction was granted by the Twelfth District Court. " L. Gross & Co. vs F. & P.J. Cassin- Suit was brought this day by L. Gross & Co., who alleged in their complaint that they are proprietors of the 'Wild Grape Root IXL Bitters;' and that they have the above as their trade-mark. That F. & P. J. Cassin are imitating their trade-mark, bottles and labels, and are selling an inferior article of bitters, called 'Cassin's California Wild Grape Root XXX Bitters.' That they are deceiving the public and interfering with the sale of the IXL bitters. An order was issued to-day restraining defendants from selling same until further hearing was granted."

On January 19th, 1869, the Cassin's succeeded in gaining the suit pending in the Bitter case, and boy did they ever play that up! Advertisements for their Cassin's Wild Grape Root XXX Bitters began showing up in all the Northern California papers, and in almost every issue where one appeared, their was a Henley's Wild Grape Root IXL Bitters ad of an inflammatory nature on the same page! A kind of Hatfield & McCoys feud.


  1. Great research material Warren! What about an embossed; "Cassin's / Wild / Grape Root / XXX / Bitters" though. I'd like to see what that one looks like!

  2. Or a Dr. Henley's Grape Brandy Bitters!

  3. I'm really looking forward to Warren's book ! How much longer do we have to wait ?

  4. I hope it's not going to be like APHOTALINGS whiskey book that's been on hold for almost 20 years. Come on AP we're still waiting!


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