A spotlight on Aunt Pat during St. Patrick's Day

As St. Patrick's Day approaches for us here at Henebery Celebrated Whiskey as well as for all those who observe the holiday for many reasons, we recall our individual and common Irish Heritage that is celebrated by all who claim The Emerald Isle as their ancestral home. We at Henebery most certainly do claim this and with great pride, that our inspirational founding father, Matthew Henebery, was indeed a proud and loyal son of Ireland hailing from County Kerry, before coming to America to stake his claim of "The American Dream" and eventually settling in our Nations Heartland. In Peoria, Illinois, which came to be known as the "Whiskey Capitol" of America during his time due to the abundance of locally grown grain and an unblemished source of quality water. That cherished history is part of the Irish Heritage that we celebrate on St. Patrick's Day and everyday here at Henebery Celebrated Whiskey.

As is the case for most families, there is always one person who takes a greater interest and committed effort to family history and genealogy. The descendants of Matthew Henebry are lucky (as the Irish like to say!) to have a such a member of the family who has been an invaluable source or archival photographs and history that connect our distillery to our Founding Father, Matthew Henebery. Her name is Patricia ("Aunt Pat") Cummings Powers, and she is a Great Grandaughter of Matthew. She has always been one of those family members that are often credited with being "the glue" to holds the family together and maintains the "ties that bind" us to each other as the larger family Clans of cousins and related kin that many of us have, but are not always as informed about or up to date with in our daily lives. Aunt Pat is the one in our Henebery Famiky that can fill in the gaps of disconnect brethren the different branches that offshoot from the main family Tree.

Aunt Pat, who still lives in the hometown of our origin, Peoria, Illinois, was just recently out here on the West Coast for a family visit with extended family members as well as members of her own immediate family who have been transplanted from the Midwest and now live in Southern California. Aunt Pat has been an enthusiastic supporter of Henebery Celebrated Whiskey from the earliest days of its inception and establishment. She provided so much of the history surrounding Matthew Henebery and his work as a distiller and importer of spirits, along with his own immediate family members and the role they played in the history of Peoria, Illinois, which was quite extensive and impressive, and is still remembered and honored to this day.

Many people think of St. Patrick's Day celebration as a day of excessive celebration accompanied with drinking of all sorts of beverages from green dyed beer, Guiness Stout, Harp Lager and others to the finest of distilled Irish whiskies and more. Some carry on at St. Patrick's Day as if it were another Mardi Gras, even while this holiday usually falls under the Catholic season of Lent which is traditionally known as a time of fasting,Menander and reflection in the faith tradition that most Irish (and other) Catholics are all too aware of. Many others will either dine out or prepare meals that are attributed to their Irish roots like Corned Beef and cabbage, Shepherds Pie, Irish Stew, Fish & Chips and many other items like traditional Irish Soda Bread and and other baked goods. Enjoying good food and drinks with family, friends and loved ones is as much a part of a St. Patrick's Day celebration as it is for any significant holiday during the course of the calendar year, however, there are not that many holidays that are linked to a National Heritage like St. Patrick's Day or Cinco de Mayo in the Mexican tradition. There really is no Italian equivalent and even Oktoberfest that celebrates German heritage and tradition isn't a singular day, but is rather a season associated with the celebratory time following the harvest. Theses are all wonderful,examples,of people,coming together with their family and friends to enjoy the familiar tastes of the comfort foods of our ancestral homes that tie us to our family history of the past and also serve as the means of introducing the younger generation of new family members about where they came from and what their forefathers and mothers like to eat and enjoy together.

When Aunt Pat was here visiting, we had a number of family gatherings to accommodate everyone's busy schedules and that included a lunch out at nice destination restaurant in La Jolla where she shared more recent family ancestry updates with us all. We also gave her one of the very first tours of the Henebery Distillery before it was completely finished. She loved it! We took photos of her next to our iconic primary Vendome still, that we have affectionately named and refer to as "Spinster Lucy", who was one of Matthew & Mary Henebery's ten children who, as the name suggests, never married! She loved that the Henebery logo was etched into the still porthole window, the tasting room,mother production areas and barrel racks as well as then the rest of the distillery office space. She was so eager to bring back Henebery signature embroidered and silkscreened t-shirts to bring back to all of the family members back in Peoria, as well as the Pastoral staff at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception which Matthew and Mary Henebery were significant donor patrons of the impressive interior. Aunt Pat wanted to bring a little bit of the Henebery history that lives on in our whiskey back to the living descendents of Matthew back in the city that was the origin of our founding and existence. She is one of our most loyal fans and supporters and at 80 years of age, she is a cherished and beloved member of our "whiskey family" who, among many others, are celebrated on St. Patrick's Day for what she has contributed to our understanding of our Henebery ancestry and rich Irish Heritage that the holiday is all about! Sláinte! Cheers!