Laird's is a brand of apple brandy made in Scobeyville, New Jersey by the Laird family, who has made apple spirits since the early 1700's. The Laird family owns Federal Distilling License #1, which dates back to 1780.
The history of the Laird family in America dates back to 1698, when Alexander Laird and his sons Thomas and William settled in Monmouth County, New Jersey. The elder Laird probably had experience distilling whiskey in Scotland, and applied his knowledge to the local produce -- apples. William's descendents built the Colt's Neck Inn and a distillery, and from there, sold "cyder spirits". The family even passed their recipe on to George Washington, and supplied the Continental Army with spirits. By 1780, the Laird family was selling their product commercially.
In 1849, the distillery burned to the ground. Robert Laird (the 5th generation), rebuilt the distillery in nearby Scobeyville, and increased production of Laird's Applejack. During prohibition, the company survived by making sweet cider and applesauce, and in 1933 applied for a license to sell "medicinal" apple brandy.
After the repeal of Prohibition, the Laird company began to sell off their (now old) stocks of apple brandy, and began distilling, only to be interrupted by World War II -- during which they produced dried apples and pectin for the war effort.
Today, Laird's makes four apple spirits:
- Lairds Applejack, which is a blend of 65% neutral spirits and 35% apple brandy, which has a light, delicate aroma and flavor.
- Lairds Bonded Apple Brandy, a 100 proof workhorse,
- Lairds 7.5, a seven and a half year old Apple Brandy, and
- Lairds 12, a twelve year old expression.
The seven and a half and twelve year old brandies are barrel selections made by Laird's Master Distiller, Lester Clemens.