Police Seek to Recover Historic Distillation Column

UC Davis police are investigating the theft of a historic distillation column stolen from the Jackson Sustainable Winery building on campus the weekend of March 19-20. Officials fear the copper column, which was used for teaching distilling on campus for 50 years and was to have formed part of a historical display, may be sold for scrap. 

Big metal pipes lying on the floor
The disassembled distillation column.

Police believe that the thieves gained entry to the building through an upper window and dragged parts of the distillation column, which was already disassembled, out to a waiting vehicle. When fully assembled, the copper tower is 24 feet tall.

Professor James Guymon commissioned the equipment in 1949, for manufacture by the Oscar Krenz company of Oakland. It was used for 50 years for teaching courses in distilled beverages, as well as in Guymon’s research on whiskey and brandy distilling. Guymon’s work formed the basis for several whiskey and brandy businesses after the Second World War, said Roger Boulton, professor emeritus of viticulture and enology.

It is the only distillation column of its kind in the U.S. and was to be a historical centerpiece of a future Teaching and Research Distillery building, Boulton said.

Anyone with information about this crime or the whereabouts of the distillation column should contact UC Davis police at 530-752-1727.

Media Resources

Media Contact:

  • Andy Fell, News and Media Relations, 530-304-8888, ahfell@ucdavis.edu

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