Old Dominick Distillery Script

Scripted introduction for tour guides at Old Dominick Distillery in Memphis, TN

The Old Dominick Welcome, Stories, & History




Scene 1: Introduction

Hello. My name is ________________

Welcome to Old Dominick Distillery

This is where we are making the Memphis spirit

Today and from 5 generations ago.

That’s right. If you thought you were coming in to get the new drink on the block, hate to tell you, but folks were drinking Old Dominick’s spirits way before it was cool.

You’re kinda late.

Like 150 years late.

So y’all can just go on back to where you came from.


Scene 2: Memphis Toddy

Of course, I’m kidding. I don’t want you to leave.

Yes, we are a brand-spanking new distillery, but we have a recipe -an ages old recipe

Steeped in history

In family legacy

In excitement and intrigue

In mystery and suspense.

And that is our Memphis Toddy

Which was totally forgotten about for, like 100 years.


But, today you are going to get to try it.

Because we have brought back to life the Memphis Toddy

Along with some new spirit friends:

We have a Memphis vodka

A honeybell vodka which is our citrus flavor

And a couple of whiskies in the works, which are aging in barrels right now as we speak.


Scene 3: Share a Sip

And on that note, I want to thank you folks so much for coming in today, and for sharing the revitalization of a family past with this launch of a new endeavor. We are truly a family company. We love to share stories, and we want to share a sip of pure Memphis spirit with you.


Before we move on, I like to get to know my group a little bit.

Who are my whisky drinkers?

Who could leave the brown stuff for the birds and likes their vodka?

Anyone from Memphis?

Who are my out-of-towners? From where?

Who is in Memphis with me right now? Trick question. Everyone’s hand should go up.







ACT 2: History


Scene 4: Memphis in 1843

Now that we all know each other, we’re going to time travel for a little bit. We’re headed back to the year 1843.


To give you a better time frame: Elvis Presley recorded his first his single, right here in Memphis at Sun Studies, “That’s Alright Mama” in 1954.

Now go back another hundred years, and some change, and you’re there.

1843. We’re still in Memphis.

But it’s a ramblin’ rambunctious river town on the rise.


Try to imagine that tin-can clinking, old-timey piano tune.

It drifts through the cigar-smoke haze

Of a whisky-scented saloon or gambling den.

It wafts through some wood shutter slats onto a bustling street


Where -watch out! Big, heavy work horses are clopping full-speed ahead over crooked cobblestone.

They’re hauling huge loads of cotton

Practically bursting from their canvas covers

From the booming new trade of the time.


There’s a street vendor shouting over occasional gunfire

From your obligatory southern brawl


And everywhere float dust-covered cowboy hats and bonnets atop the heads of Memphis-residing

Gentlemen of ill-repute

And ladies of loose candor

Suffice to say, some things haven’t really changed.


Scene 5: Little Domenico

Now a-little-ways away from here, in the country of Italy, a baby boy was born. His name was Domenico Canale.

Which is so Italian. I love it. Domenico Canale.

Is anyone Italian? Help me say it right…


Domenico, in 1859, at the right bold age of 16, came to America.

Now I don’t know about y’all, but when I was 16, I was

(Insert story. Example: A freshly licensed driver, stuffing as many teenagers into the old family minivan as I could, so we could drive to the mall and raise some hell.)


Domenico, at that age, took a 6- day voyage from Italy to the USA

He landed in New Orleans

Hopped on a riverboat, and steamed up the Mississippi until he finally set his boots down on the cobblestones of Memphis.


Now our cobblestones are kinda special.

Memphis is the only city in the country

With an original, usable, cobblestone, riverfront landing

Ours is the largest in the nation.


I highly encourage you to check it out, especially if you’re in from out of town.

From here, you just go down to Beale street, head towards the Mississippi, and you can’t miss it.

It’s a cool, functional piece of history we have here.


Scene 6: Working Domenico

Domenico gets here; he has a couple of uncles in town who have preceded his arrival.

He goes to work for them in that building right over there.


They set him up with the super-glamorous task of manning a fruit cart.

But he was an ambitious young buck, within a few years he started his own business selling fresh fruits and vegetables.


In 1866, he formally established his food wholesale business as D. Canale & Company

That business is still in operation today

It’s still family-run

And it’s the company that began and runs distillery

When you came in the front door today, you may have noticed the emblem overhead. That’s

The D. Canale & Co. logo


Scene 7: Old Dominick Spirit Founded

Now I mentioned folks have been drinking old Dominick Spirits for quite some time

Quite some time is 1880

14 years in business as D. Canale & Co.; the Old Dominick Spirit was founded


And it was a smash hit, let me tell you.

According to the original advertisements of the day, it was

Recommended by every physician in Memphis

Used in every hospital

Possibly known to cure such ailments as

Warts, Gout, Influenza

Various forms of pox

Sneezing, hiccups, the common cold & cancer

Measles, Mumps, Whooping Cough

Backaches, Headaches

French Maladies, and Indigestion

I’m not going to make any medical claims, but I do think you will like it.






Scene 8: Prohibition ruins everything!

So everything’s grand. Folks are hootin’ and a’hollerin’, drinking Old Dominck Spirits

Until early into the 20th century, when the country as a whole witnessed a bit of a travesty

A bout of madness really.

Does anyone know what I’m referring to?


Prohibition was enacted with the passing of the 18th Amendment.

Greater tragedy ensued still, with the passing of our dear founding father, Domenico Canale in 1919 -the same year it was passed in the state of Tennessee.

Possibly due to a broken heart.


ACT 3: Old Dominick Today


Scene 9: The Toddy remains

Now his company, D. Canale & Company, still lives on

Much of the Canale family still lives in Memphis

As for that Old Dominick spirit, it did continue to live on

But hidden inside a bottle of that old Memphis Toddy

Which was tucked away, forgotten about, and began collecting dust.


Until, just a few years ago in 2013, some brave soul

Picked up that bottle

Blew off the dust

And said, “Hey, we should try this.”

They did, and it was absolutely awful.

But persistence seems to run in the Canale blood.

They had that bottle shipped off to a lab to reverse engineer the ingredients.

Turns out it was a bourbon infused with botanicals and fruit

Hundred-year-old fruit, not so good

But the whisky was solid


So that one taste-test, of that one-hundred-year-old bottle became

This distillery

A whole new line of spirits

And revitalized the Old Dominick brand


Scene 10: The Brand

A tidbit about that brand

Have you guys noticed the rooster around here?

That’s a dominicker rooster.

Quick refresher on our vast chicken knowledge:

Dominickers are the oldest American breed of chicken

They’re a good strong, hearty stock with a nice, calm demeanor.

With a name like “dominicker” it’s the perfect mascot for us.

We have affectionately named our rooster Nico.



If you recall, I told you Domenico had gone to work for his uncles across the street.

Well, since we’ve set up shop over here, we like to say we now know why the chicken crossed the road.


Scene 11: Water

So those are some of the stories that really make us special

And some of the history that makes us unique.

There’s one more thing I want to touch on and that’s our quality.


The best quality comes from the best ingredients.

A key ingredient in spirit making is water.

Folks, you can get spirits from all over the world, and very fine spirts indeed. But nothing will quite align with what we can do here in Memphis because we are privy to an unmatched source of water locally.

If you go 500 feet below ground from where we’re standing

There runs a naturally sweet, pure, light groundwater

It’s a low-mineral water

Filtered through a layer of finely ground quartz crystal known as Memphis sand

Groundwater scientists have called Memphis water the best-tasting in the world.


We happen to agree. We also agree it’s the best-tasting for making spirits

But you don’t have to take my word for it on this one. Please enjoy a sample for yourself.


While this is very refreshing indeed, I know you folks came here to try a little more than just water, so if you’ll follow me, we will make our way through production and finish in our tasting room.

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