From Liquors to Bitters: The History of the Fee Brothers in Rochester (ASL interpreters included)



The Fee Brothers company, which started out as a small liquor retail business founded by Irish immigrants in 1864, has since become a world-renowned enterprise famous for its cocktail mixes, bitters, and syrups. Each generation of the family-run firm faced challenges to its existence but persevered by adapting and reinventing itself time and again. The history of the Fee Brothers company not only offers a unique story of a local resilient family business, but it also reflects the evolution of the liquor industry in the United States and how the drinking culture has shifted over time.

Historian, author, and cocktail enthusiast, Emily C. Morry was born in Ottawa, Canada and later moved to Montréal where she studied American history at McGill University. She earned her PhD at the University of Rochester, where she focused on African American history, urban studies, and popular culture. Her first book, Rochester Through Time, co-written with Mary Grenier, was published in 2016. She continues to research and write about local history as both a freelance writer and a proud employee of the Rochester Public Library.

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