The History of Butterfly Absinthe
Butterfly Absinthe was a pre-prohibition American absinthe that was produced in Boston by P.Dempsey & Company from the early 1900’s up to prohibition. Absinthe became quite popular in the USA starting the in 1800's. French and Swiss absinthe started to appear on the American shore starting in early 1800s and by 1850 there were several absinthe distillers in the USA. The domestic absinthe companies helped fill the gap for imported absinthe created as the drink become more popular. By the late 1800’s, production was in full swing and there are reports of one distillery in New York City producing 1000 gallons of absinthe per month. Absinthe demand peaked in the early 1900s. Regional distilleries sprung up and produced absinthe in Boston, Chicago, Detroit, New York, New Orleans and San Francisco. The temperance movement made absinthe its first victim in 1912 when the US Agriculture Department banned the importation and inter-state transport of absinthe. It is a common misconception that absinthe consumption and production stopped after the ban went into effect. Absinthe continued to be produced and served at the local level right up to prohibition in 1920. Pre-Prohibition American absinthe is its own style and differed from the absinthe being imported from Europe. The Americans used ingredients that were easily sourced and abundant on this side of Atlantic. This included mint and other herbs used in the coloring of the absinthe that created a style that is both complex and uniquely American.

History of Butterfly Absinthe

Butterfly Absinthe was first produced in Boston, MA starting in 1902 by P.Dempsey & Co. The company was founded by an Irish immigrant named Patrick Dempsey who was born at the home farm in County Wicklow, Ireland, March 17, 1822, and died at his home in the city of Lowell, Massachusetts, December 12 or 13, 1902. He spent the first sixteen years of his life on the home farm as his father's assistant, and passed the four following years at the provision trade in Dublin, where he received the business training that proved so useful after his arrival in the United States. He and his brother James came to this country in the same ship in 1842, and he spent the first year of his American residence at Fall River, Massachusetts, an employee of the Hope Mills. He continued a textile mill worker in Cranston, Rhode Island, and in Somerville, Massachusetts, but in the last-named city his health failed and he was obliged to seek out-of- door employment. Not finding anything suitable in Somerville, he went to Albany, New York, and there found a position with one of the contractors of a section of the Erie Canal, then being built across New York State to connect the Great Lakes with the Hudson River. He remained in that employ for some time, later went further west, not returning East until 1846, when he located in Lowell, and the same year rented the basement at No. 381-83 Market street, in a small way beginning the making and bottling of root beer. He devoted himself to the building of this business with all the energy and strength he possessed, making the root beer at night and spending his days selling it. He prospered, of course, for this combination of youth and energy could not be denied. Soon he added other beverages to his list and rented the store above his business as a salesroom, retaining the basement for manufacturing purposes. Later he opened a wholesale store for the sale of liquors under the firm name, P. Dempsey & Company, occupying the double stores at 381-83 Market street, Lowell, MA and continuing the active head of that firm for fifty-three years, 1846-99. In the 1900 he retired and was succeeded by his son, George C. Dempsey, and Patrick Keyes, who continued at the same location and in Boston.  Once in Boston, the company began production of a number of liquor brands including Patts Malt Whiskey, Mayfair Whiskey, Puritan Gin and Butterfly absinthe.

Time Line:
1822 - Patrick Dempsey was born in Rathbran, County Wicklow, Ireland.
1842 - Patrick Dempsey arrives in America.
1846 - Patrick Dempsey moves to Lowell, MA and opens a root beer business.
1846 - Patrick Dempsey forms the P. Dempsey & Company as a wholesale liquor business.
1890 - George C. Dempsey joins this father's firm. 1899 - Patrick Dempsey retires and was succeeded by his son George C. Dempsey and Patrick Keyes.
1902 - Opens distillery and warehouse in Boston on 117 Merrimac St., and 18 Lancaster St., Boston. Mass
1902 - Patrick Dempsey dies in Lowell, Massachusetts. 1912 - October 1st, Ban on importation of absinthe. Also becomes illegal to ship across state lines.
1914 - Incorporated Jan. 1, 1914, as The P. Dempsey Co.
1916 - Prohibition begins on January 16, 1920.
1922 - P. Dempsey Company dissolved 1922.
2010 - Butterfly Absinthe is reborn and available for sale in Europe and Asia.
2013 - Butterfly Absinthe is once again available for sale in the USA.