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The 100 Oldest Companies in the World

Undoubtedly family business represents the most lasting type of business. The expert in family business, Professor Willian O'Hara, in one of his books mentioned about family business the following: "Before the multinational corporation, there was family business.

Before the Industrial Revolution, there was family business. Before the enlightenment of Greece and the empire of Rome, there was family business." Below there's a list of world's top 100 oldest companies that represent family business.

These firms can surely state that they managed to outlast governments, nations and cities. But most importantly these family businesses outlasted once mighty transnational corporations. The list may not be entirely accurate and it doesn't claim to be scientific. Visitors are free to provide any information that might have been missed. .

 
1. 578 - Kongo Gumi
The Kongo family
Osaka, Japan
www.kongogumi.co.jp

Construction company based in Osaka, Japan. The firm was founded back in 578. It ended its activity in 2007, being considered the oldest company in the world until then. It was operated by the representatives of the 40th generation. Prince Shotoku was the one to bring the representative of Kongo family to Japan from Korea. The event took place more that 1,400 years ago. The Kongo family was brought to construct the Buddhist Shitennoji Temple, which, by the way, still can be viewed today. Throughout centuries, Kongo Gumi has taken part in the creation of many well-known buildings like the Osaka castle, constructed in the 16th century.
Kongo Gumi
2. 718 - Hoshi Ryokan
The Hoshi family
Komatsu, Japan
www.ho-shi.co.jp

The firm's business deals with innkeeping. The company was founded in Komatsu, Japan in 718. The firm is operated by the family's members, who represent its 46th generation. The legend states that the god of Mount Hakusan once visited a Buddhist priest and asked him to uncover a hot spring located underground in a nearby village. When he found the hot spring, the priest asked that his student, the son of a woodcutter, Garyo Saskiri, construct and run a spa on the spot. Since then his family, who was known as Hoshi, have managed a hotel in Komatsu. The structure that stands today is able to house 450 people, in its 100 rooms. Each customer is treated as a privileged guest. In addition each customer receives a traditional Japanese welcome by being invited to a tea ceremony. Today its manager is Zengoro Hoshi..
Hoshi Ryokan
3. Chateau de Goulaine – founded in 1000.
Goulaine family
France
www.chateau.goulaine.online.fr

This place represents a vineyard, museum and a butterfly collection. It is located in Haute Goulaine, France and was founded back in 1000. The castle is run by a Goulaine family, who possesses an extremely rare butterfly collection. The family's museum hosts different functions, including weddings. Visitors can purchase wine made from the castle's vineyards. The firm's official site is:
Chateau de Goulaine
4. Fonderia Pontificia Marinelli – founded in 1000.
Marinelli family
Agnore, Italy
www.campanemarinelli.com
This bell foundry was set in Agnore, Italy in 1000. Agnore is a small town located high in the Appenine hills. The firm's managers still apply the same techniques of using wax as the firm's founders (a wax "false bell" is covered with the actual thing). The bells of Fonderia Pontificia Marinelli are toll worldwide, in: New York, Beijing, Jerusalem, South America and Korea. The family business currently employs 20 people. Among these employees there are 5 members of the Marinelli family. Today the firm is managed by Pasquale Marinelli. In 1997, the firm opened its museum, which shows the work of Pasquale's brother, an Italian sculptor Ettore Marinelli.
Fonderia Pontificia Marinelli
5. Barone Ricasoli – founded in 1141.
Ricasoli barons
Republic of Florence
www.ricasoli.it
The firm produces wine and olive oil. It was founded in Siena, Italy back in 1141. For the first time the land was given to the Ricasoli barons by the Republic of Florence. The land today serves as the family's Brolio Estate, occupying around 3,600 acres. The central activity of the family is focused around wine production. Ricasoli has only 26 acres used for the cultivation of olives.
Barone Ricasoli
6. Barovier & Toso – founded in 1295.
Barovier family
Venezia, Italy
www.barovier.com
A glass making family business based in Venezia, Italy. The firm was founded in 1295. On Murano Island it creates crystalline glass, mother-of-pearl glass as well as gold-free cornelian red. The island is located 10 minutes ferry ride from Venice. In 1936 the Barovier family merged with the Toso family. The latter were also a family that worked in the field of glass production..
Barone Ricasoli
7. Hotel Pilgrim Haus – founded in 1304.
Andernach family
Soest, Germany
www.pilgimhaus.de
This family business refers to innkeeping. It was founded in 1304 in Soest, Germany. Currently the Hotel Pilgrim Haus is run by the Andernach family in Soest, which is a town located 110 miles north of Frankfurt.
Hotel Pilgrim Haus
8. Richard de Bas – founded in 1326
 
This family business makes paper. It was founded in Amvert d'Auvergne, France in 1326. The firm has a longstanding reputation for producing high-quality papers. This fact led to a number of high-profile jobs. It is worth mentioning that the firm has provided paper for limited-edition works made by Braque and Picasso. The company also operates a museum. The firm's official site is: www.richarddebas.fr.
Richard de Bas - 1326


9. Torrini Firenze – founded in 1369

This business is represented by a family of goldsmiths. The family founded its business in 1369 in Florence, Italy. Florence was the destination of Jacopus Torrini when he decided to move away from his native village of Scarperia and create armor for Florentine knights. Later the workshop of Torrini developed into a goldsmith, where the master made jewels along with other objects of high value. One of the family's most valuable creations is its mysterious "Oro Nativo" method of manufacturing. This method refers to the process of working with gold while maintaining its most natural color. The firm's official website is: www.torrini.com.

Torrini Firenze - 1369

10. Antinori – founded in 1383

The Florence-based company works in the field of wine production. It was founded in Florence, Italy in 1385 and is currently operated by the representatives of the family's 19th generation. Ever since Giovanni di Piero Antinori stuck together with the Florentine Guild of Vintners, the Italian family has been making high-quality wine. Today a system of vineyards located in Italy, United States, Hungary, Malta and Chile is under control of Marchese (Count) Piero Antinori and his 3 daughters. The company's Chiantis and other classics are highly appreciated by consumers and wine critics worldwide. Since 1506 the firm has be located in a Florentine palazzo.

Antinori Wine 1383

11. Camuffo

Shipbuilding.
Based in Portogruaro, Italy.
Founded in 1438 - 18th generation

Camuffo Shipbuilding

12. Baronnie de Coussergues

Wine business
Based in Montblanc, France.
Founded in 1495
16th generation

Official website: www.henokiens.com/index_baronnie_gb.php

Baronnie de Coussergues 1495

13. Grazia Deruta

Ceramics.
Based in Turin, Italy
Founded in 1500



Grazia Deruta 1500

14. Fabbrica D’Armi Pietro Beretta S.p.A.

Firearms.
Based in Gardone, Italy
Founded in 1526
14th generation
Official website:
www.beretta.it

Fabbrica D’Armi Pietro Beretta S.p.A. 1526

15. William Prym GmbH & Co.

Copper, brass, haberdashery.
Based in Stolberg, Germany
Founded in 1530
Official website:
www.prym.com

William Prym GmbH & Co. 1530

16. John Brooke & Sons

Woolens.
Based in Huddersfield, United Kingdom
Founded in 1541
15th generation
Official website:
www.brookesmill.co.uk

John Brooke & Sons 1541

17. Codorniu

Wine business
Based in Saint Sadurni d'Anoia, Spain
Founded in 1551
Official website:
www.codorniu.es

no pic

18. Fonjallaz

Wine Based in
Lavaux, Switzerland
Founded in 1552
13th generation
Official website:
www.fonjallaz.info

no pic

19. von Poschinger Manufaktur

Glassmaking
Based in Frauenau, Germany
Founded in 1568
13th generation
Official website:
www.poschinger.de

no pic

20. Hacienda Los Lingues

Ranch
Based in San Fernando, Chile
Founded in 1575
15th generation
Official website:
www.loslingues.cl

no pic

21. Wachsendustrie Fulda Adam Gies

Candles, wax figures
Based in Fulda, Germany
Founded in 1589
Maker of candles and wax figures still operated by the founding Gies family.

 

no pic

22. Berenberg Bank

Banking
Based in Hamburg, Germany
Founded in 1590
Official website:
www.berenberg.de

no pic

23. R. Durtnell & Sons

Construction
Based in Kent, United Kingdom
Founded in 1591
12th generation
Official website:
www.durtnell.co.uk

no pic

24. J.P. Epping of Pippsvadr

Grocers
Based in Germany
Founded in 1595

no pic

25. Eduard Meier

Shoes
Based in Munich, Germany
Founded in 1596
13th generation
Official website:
www.edmeier.de


no pic

26. Toraya

Confectioners
Based in Tokyo, Japan
Founded in pre-1600
17th generation
Official website:
www.toraya-group.co.jp

no pic

27. Tissiman & Sons Ltd.

Tailors and outfitters
Based in Bishop’s Stortford, United Kingdom
Founded in 1601
Official website:
www.tissimans.co.uk

no pic

28. Enshu Sado School

Ceremonial tea school
Based in Tokyo, Japan
Founded in 1602
13th generation
Official website:
www.enshuryu.com

no pic

29. Takenaka

Construction
Based in Osaka, Japan
Founded in 1610
Official website:
www.takenaka.co.jp


no pic

30. Mellerio dits Meller

Jewelry
Based in Paris, France
Founded in 1613
15th generation
Official website:
www.mellerio.fr

no pic

31. Cartiera Mantovana Corp.

Paper
Based in Mantua, Italy
Founded in 1615
Official website:
www.cartieramantovana.it

no pic
32. 1623 - Zildjian Cymbal Co.
Zildjian family
Cymbals/Norwell, Mass.
www.zildjian.com

Founded 14 generations ago in Constantinople by an alchemist named Avedis I, who discovered an extremely musical metal alloy to create powerful, durable cymbals. The sultan named him “Zildjian,” Armenian for “cymbalsmith.” Family arrived in U.S. 1929, in time for Avedis Zildjian III to establish ties with hot new jazz drummers of the day. His son Armand (1921-2002) created modern factory. Today his daughters Craigie (CEO) and Debbie (VP/human resources) run company, first women chiefs in its long history.
Zildjian Cymbal Co. 1623

33. Kikkoman

Soy sauce
Based in Noda, Japan
Founded in 1630
Official website:
www.kikkoman.com


no pic

34. Sumitomo Corp.

Conglomerate
Based in Tokyo, Japan
Founded in 1630
Official website:
www.sumitomocorp.co.jp

no pic

35. Akerblads

Hotel
Based in Tallberg, Sweden
Founded in 1630
21st generation
Official website:
www.akerblads-tallberg.se

no pic
36. 1635 - Tuttle Farm
Tuttle family
Agriculture/Dover, N.H.
Employees: 45 winter, 75 summer

Founder John Tuttle left England 1635, survived shipwreck off Maine coast, arrived in Dover with wife and four-year-old daughter. His 240-acre farm now in 11th generation under Tuttle family, grows vegetables and strawberries, also operates retail shop on site. Twelfth-generation member Evan Hourihan, who is in his 20s, has expressed interest in the family farm.
Tuttle Farm 1635

37. Gekkeikan

Sake
Based in Fushimi, Japan
Founded in 1637
13th generation
Official website:
www.gekkeikan.co.jp


no pic
38. 1638 - Shirley Plantation
Hill/Carter family
Historical site/Charles City, Va.

www.shirleyplantation.com
Virginia’s oldest plantation, settled 1613 on James River between Richmond and Williamsburg by Sir Thomas West. Operated as tobacco and grain farm 1613-1952. Acquired 1638 by Edward Hill and managed by his descendants ever since. His great-granddaughter Elizabeth Hill married John Carter 1723; plantation owned since then by their descendants. Under tenth-generation owner Charles Hill Carter Jr. and wife, converted to tourist attraction 1952; since 1998, also hosts weddings and corporate events as well under Carters’ children, 11th-generation operators.
Shirley Plantation 1638

39. Hugel et Fils

Wine
Based in Riquewihr, France
Founded in 1639
12th generation
Official website:
www.hugel.com

no pic

40. James Lock & Co.

Hatters
Based in London, United Kingdom
Founded in 1642
Official website:
www.lockhatters.co.uk

no pic
41. 1642 - Barker Farm
Barker family
Dairy and apples/North Andover, Mass.
Revenues: $250,000 to $500,000
Employees: 1 full-time, 6 at peak

Family farm now run by 11th generation of Barkers. Visitors can pick produce.
Barker’s Farm 1642

42. G.C. Fox & Co.

Shipping agent
Based in Falmouth, United Kingdom
Founded in 1646


no pic

43. R.H. Levey & Son

Funeral services
Stansted Mountfitchet, United Kingdom
Founded in 1649

no pic

44. William Adams & Sons

Potters
Based in Stoke-on-Trent, United Kingdom
Founded in 1650
12th generation
Official website:
www.thepotteries.org/potters/adams.htm

no pic

45. Ulefos Jernvaerk

Metals, milling, forestry
Based in Telemark, Norway
Founded in 1657


no pic

46. Van Eeghen

Trading company
Based in Amsterdam, Netherlands
Founded in 1662
14th generation
Official website:
www.vaneeghen.com

no pic

47. Schwarze & Schlichte

Distillery
Based in Oelde, Germany
Founded in 1664
12th generation
Official website:
www.schwarze-schlichte.de

no pic

48. The Seaside Inn and Cottages

Innkeeping
Based in Kennebunkport, Maine
Founded in 1667
12th generation
Mason family
Official website:
www.kennebunkbeach.com

no pic

49. Early’s of Witney

Blankets
Based in Witney, United Kingdom
Founded in 1669


no pic

50. C. Hoare & Co.

Banking
Based in London, United Kingdom
Founded in 1672
11th generation
Official website:
www.hoaresbank.co.uk

no pic

51. Firmin & Sons Ltd.

Uniforms and insignia
Based in Birmingham, United Kingdom
Founded in 1677
Official website:
www.firmin.co.uk

no pic

52. Viellard Migeon & Cie.

Iron making
Based in Forges de Morvillars, France
Founded in 1679
Official website:
www.vmchooks.com

no pic
53. 1684 - Miller Farm
Miller family
Agriculture, timber/Frederica, Del.
Revenues: $50 to $60/acre

Farm has remained in Miller family’s hands through nine generations. Its tillable land is currently leased to a local farmer.
Miller Farm 1684

54. Gradis Corp.

Wine trading
Based in Bordeaux, France
Founded in 1685


no pic

55. Toye, Kenning & Spencer

Weavers
Based in London, United Kingdom
Founded in 1685
Official website:
www.toye.com

no pic

56. Yamamotoyama

Tea
Based in Japan
Founded in 1690
Official website:
www.yamamotoyama.com

no pic

57. Delamare et Cie.

Packaging materials
Based in Criquebeuf-sur-Seine, France
Founded in 1690
Official website:
www.henokiens.com/index_delamare_fr.php

no pic

58. Nolet Distillery (Ketel One Vodka)

Distillery
Based in Schiedam, Netherlands
Founded in 1691
Tenth generation
Official website:
www.ketelone.com

no pic

59. Folkes Group

Real estate and engineering
Based in Lye, United Kingdom
Founded in 1697
Seventh generation
Official website:
www.folkesholdings.com

no pic

60. Berry Brothers & Rudd Ltd.

Wine merchants
Based in London, United Kingdom
Founded in 1698
Official website:
www.bbr.com

no pic

61. Shepherd Neame

Brewer
Based in Faversham, United Kingdom
Founded in 1698
Fifth generation
Official website:
www.shepherd-neame.co.uk

no pic
62. 1700 - Allandale Farm
Fruit, produce, flowers/Brookline, Mass.
Employees: 2-3 year-round, sometimes 10-20; most part-time.

www.allandalefarm.com
Last working farm within Boston-Brookline limits; only one of six farms left within Route 128 Beltway. Also operates summer outdoor program for children.
Allandale Farm 1700

63. Farina Gegenüber

Fragrances
Based in Cologne, Germany
Founded in 1709
Eighth generation
Official website:
www.farina1709.com

no pic

64. William Dalton & Sons

Pest control
Based in United Kingdom
Founded in 1710

no pic
65. 1720 - Cooke Farm
Cooke family
Farm/Wallingford, Conn.

Founded 1720 or earlier, once a thriving 550-acre dairy operation. Tenth-generation proprietor George Cooke stopped milking cows 1995, sold off most acreage, developed industrial park, now general contractor who leases remaining land to tenant farmer.
Cooke farm 1720
66. 1722 - Nourse Family Farm
Nourse family
Agriculture/Westborough, Mass.

Farm established in 1722 by grandchildren of Rebecca Nurse, innocent victim hanged for witchcraft in Salem, Mass., 1692. Family fled Salem and in 1722 purchased land on the frontier in Westborough, where descendants have farmed 140-acre spread for more than 280 years. Jonathan Nourse, proprietor since 1971, recently expanded into prepared foods (jams, jellies, pies,
Nourse Family Farm 1722

67. Tissages Denantes

Cloth
Based in Grenoble, France
Founded in 1723

no pic

68. Amarelli Fabbrica de Liquirizia

Licorice
Based in Rossano Scalo, Italy
Founded in 1731
Official website:
eng.liquirizia.it

no pic

69. Fratelli Piacenza Corp.

Woolens
Based in Pollone, Italy
Founded in 1733
11th generation
Official website:
www.piacenza1733.it

no pic

70. Taittinger Champagne

Champagne
Based in Reims, France
Founded in 1734
Official website:
www.taittinger.com

no pic

71. William Clark & Sons

Linen
Based in Upperlands, Northern Ireland, U.K.
Founded in 1739
9th generation
Official website:
www.wmclark.co.uk

no pic
72. 1741 - Lyman Orchards
Lyman family
Agriculture/Middlefield, Conn.

www.lymanorchards.com
The 1,100-acre farm today offers ambitious variety of food products (cider, apple pies, etc.), events (golf tournaments, fund-raisers), tours. Founding family now in eighth generation of ownership.
Lyman Orchards 1741
73. 1742 - John Whitley Farm
Whitley family
Agriculture/Williamston, N.C.

Oldest farm in North Carolina, now in eighth generation. Family mementos include original deed with wax seal of King of England, note from Theodore Roosevelt thanking Whitleys for lending him their binoculars. Land now leased for tobacco, corn, wheat, peanuts, soybeans.
John Whitley Farm 1742

74. Boplaas

Agriculture, orchards
Based in Koue Bokkeveld, Cape Town, South Africa
Founded in 1743
Ninth generation


no pic

75. Aubanel Publishing Co.

Publishing
Based in Avignon, France
Founded in 1744


no pic

76. Fonderia Daciano Colbachini & Figli

Bell maker
Based in Padua, Italy
Founded in 1745
Official website:
www.henokiens.com/index_colbachini_gb.php

no pic

77. J.D. Neuhaus Hebezeuge

Hoist manufacturers
Based in Witten-Heven, Germany
Founded in 1745
7th generation


no pic

78. Villeroy & Boch

Housewares
Based in Mettlach, Germany
Founded in 1748
Official website:
www.villeroy-boch.com

no pic

79. Zenith Pipe Company

Tobacco pipes
Based in Gouda, Netherlands
Founded in 1749
8th generation


no pic
80. 1750 - Parlange Plantation
Farm/New Roads, La.
www.pcchamber.org/parlange.htm
One of state’s oldest plantations; descendants of first owner Marquis Vincent de Ternant still live there. Originally grew indigo and cotton, now sugarcane, soybeans, corn and Brahmin cattle.
House, open for tours, contains original Louis XIV- and Louis XV-style furnishings and French objects handed down through generations. A basement museum displays antiques: blacksmith tools, cotton scales, sugar kettles (formerly used to boil indigo beans down to a dye), candle molds and an 1842 inventory of the estate, which lists livestock by name and ranks the value of each slave by age and ability.
Parlange Plantation 1750

81. Marie Brizard & Roger International

Distiller
Based in Bordeaux, France
Founded in 1755
Eighth generation
Official website:
www.marie-brizard.com


no pic

82. Joseph Drouhin

Wine
Based in Beaune, France
Founded in 1756
Official website:
www.drouhin.com

no pic

83. Franz Haniel

Conglomerate
Based in Duisburg, Germany
Founded in 1756
Official website:
www.haniel.de

no pic

84. Riedel Glas GmbH

Glassmaking
Based in Kufstein, Austria
Founded in 1756
11th generation
Official website:
www.riedelcrystal.com

no pic

85. Lanificio Conte S.p.A.

Woolens
Based in Schio, Italy
Founded in 1757
Official website:
www.henokiens.com/index_lanificio_gb.php

no pic

86. Jose Cuervo

Tequila
Based in Tequila, Mexico
Founded in 1758
Official website:
www.cuervo.com

no pic

87. Waterford Wedgwood

Crystal, china, & cookware
Based in Dublin, Ireland
Founded in 1759
Official website:
www.waterfordwedgwood.com

no pic

88. Creed Perfume

Perfumes
Based in Paris, France
Founded in 1760
7th generation
Official website:
www.parfumsraffy.com

no pic

89. Griset

Foundry
Based in Villers-St. Paul, France
Founded in 1760
Official website:
www.griset.com


no pic

90. Faber-Castell

Writing instruments
Based in Stein, Germany
Founded in 1761
8th generation
Official website:
www.faber-castell.com

no pic

91. Moller Group

Metal products
Based in Bielefeld, Germany
Founded in 1762
7th generation
Official website
: www.henokiens.com/index_moller_gb.php

no pic
92. 1769 - Bachman Funeral Home
Bachman family
Funeral services
Strasburg, Pa.

www.bachmanfuneral.com
Johannes Bachman, a Swiss Mennonite, began as cabinetmaker in Lancaster County, Pa., evolved into coffins and funerals. His original business ledger (in German), dated April 1769, has been passed to the present eighth generation. John D. Bachman is the current director.
Bachman Funeral Home 1769

93. Silca

Keys & key cutting machines
Based in Vittorio Veneto, Italy
Founded in 1770
5th generation
Official website:
www.silca.it

no pic

94. Osborne y Compania

Brandy and sherry
Based in Cadiz, Spain
Founded in 1772
6th generation


no pic

95. Editions Henry Lemoine

Music publishing
Based in Paris, France
Founded in 1772
Official website:
www.editions-lemoine.fr

no pic
96. 1774 - Stuart Land Co. of Virginia
Stuart family
Cattle/Rosedale, Va.
Employees: 12

Beef cattle operation still functioning. Henry Smith II started Clifton Farm. When his great-granddaughter Mary Taylor Carter married William Alexander Stuart, she brought a dowry of 80,000 acres, which Stuart added to his own large land holding. Currrent proprietor William (Zan) Stuart is eighth generation from founder; he has no children in the business, but his grandchildren may succeed him.
Stuart Land Co. of Virgina 1774

97. JB Fernandes & Sons

Tools & ironwares
Based in Lisbon, Portugal
Founded in 1778
6th generation
Official website:
www.redcube.org/JBF

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98. 1778 - St. John Milling Co.
St. John/Dawson family
Milling, farm products/Watauga, Tenn.
Revenues: $750,000
Employees: 4

Stone mason Jeremiah Dungan built original foundation for mill and stone manor (still standing), ran mill with children Jeremiah and Mary D. Hendrix. Mill passed to son Jeremiah’s daughter Mary and her husband, John Houston (brother of frontier hero Sam Houston), and then to their sons John Jr. and William Houston. Succeeded 1866 by George W. St. John (1837-1904), great-nephew of Jeremiah Dungan. His son James St. John (1874-1956) inherited mill from his father, 1904. His son George St. John, electrical engineer, succeeded him, converted farm’s power source from water to electricity. Today mill is owned by George’s daughter and son-in-law, Elizabeth and Ron Dawson (sixth generation). Operation changed from general feed and milling to feed and seed store. Because of shifting boundaries, company has paid taxes in three different states: North Carolina, Tennessee and the short-lived “State of Franklin.”
St. John Milling Co. 1778

99. Ditta Bortolo Nardini

Distillery
Based in Bassano del Grappa, Italy
Founded in 1779
Official website:
www.nardini.it

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100. 1780 - Laird & Co.
Laird family
Brandy distiller/Scobeyville, N.J.
Revenues: $40 million
Employees: 50

www.lairdandcompany.com
America’s first large-scale distiller produces AppleJack brandy, vodka, gin, scotch, bourbon, tequila, rum, wines, etc. Laird family settled in New Jersey from Scotland 1698; one ancestor opened Colts Neck Inn 1717. Robert Laird, Revolutionary War soldier, first distilled AppleJack in 1780 to serve at inn, provided brandy to George Washington. Robert’s third son Samuel took over inn 1812; distillery flourished there until destroyed by fire, 1849. His son Robert moved distillery to present Scobeyville site 1851. Company survived Prohibition by producing sweet cider, applesauce, other apple products; since 1990 has imported wines from Europe. Company now headed by eighth-generation Larrie W. Laird and his children, Lisa Laird Dunn and John E. Laird III.
Laird & Company 1780
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