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After spending the majority of your days in Amish country pursuing horse and buggies, exploring the Amish countryside and sampling all the meat and cheese your body can handle, you might begin to wonder what else Amish country has to offer. Strolling the streets of downtown Sugarcreek, you come across the most unique store in the heart of downtown with the largest collection of unique decanters you have ever seen.
Who would have thought an intricate statue of Elvis Presley or what appears to be a model car would actually be a bottle designed to hold whiskeys and wines?
Lavon Daugherty was given his first decanter by Eleanor Taylor of Wooster. Upon opening the brown paper bag the bottle was concealed in, Daugherty was surprised to see a very rare, white Ohio decanter made in 1966.
This piece was most impressive to Daugherty and fueled a new hobby for him. The time period in which these alcohol containers were made, fascinated Daugherty.
The James Beam Distilling Company began creating these fine works of art in the 1950s in order to make the purchasing of alcohol more desirable. "It all started because there was a surplus of liquor," said Daugherty. "It was a sales gimmick."
Over the next 10 years, many other distilleries followed suit, creating the most unique collectable bottles. Today, many people collect special decanters to complete collections of trains, cars, owls, etc. Daugherty found himself purchasing large collections of the decanters and joining the Jim Beam and Ski Country decanter clubs.
"I had collected so many decanters over the years, my kids felt I needed to get rid of them," said Daugherty. So in July of 2002, Daugherty opened the Collector, Decanters and Steins in Sugarcreek.
Collectors, Decanters and Steins
Over 50,000 decanters, steins and collectable items can be found in Lavon Daugherty's store with over 3,000 on display in the museum, making it the largest collection in Ohio. 80 different distilleries are represented including Ski Country, Jim Beam and Jack Daniels.
The museum holds pieces that held some of the finest liquor while other pieces never held a drop. Rare mock-ups (a prototype bottle that was never mass produced) and specially made pieces for important people and events fill the many shelves of the museum.
Upon entering the museum, a large wood bar dating back to the 1930s is refurbished with a row of bar stools removed from the Flinstone Café in Barberton, Ohio, explained Daugherty. The decanters that sit on its shelves are rare back bar pieces and fine crystal decanters representing some of the most high-end and sought after liquors of their time
As you walk through the store, one can really appreciate Daugherty's appreciation for this particular time in history. He has taken time to research and collect the most unique pieces of their time. "Some of these pieces you will never see anywhere else," said Daugherty.
As an owner of Ski Country Decanters, Daugherty creates a new decanter to be presented at club events each year. His current collection is an ode to states in which he created an Ohio decanter with Sugarcreek displayed proudly on the map.
If you're looking to complete a collection or even start one, be sure to stop in to Collectors, Decanters and Steins. If you're a history buff, check out the museum and let Daugherty tell you more about this unique time in American history. His passion for collecting easily shines through as he share the stories behind each individual piece in his museum and gives you a greater appreciation for his collection.
Collectors, Decanters and Steins is located at 119 E. Main Street, Sugarcreek. Hours are Mon-Sat, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Museum admission is $5 for adults (children under 10 are free) or receive free admission with any purchase. For more information call 330-852-9191 or visit www.collectorsdecanterssteins.com.