Mike Wayne
Nebraska Cornhuskers 1982

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This rare decanter was put out in 1982 by Mike Wayne Distilling Company, a small distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky.  There are a myriad of distilleries in that area of Kentucky, most notably Jim Beam just 20 miles north, Old Fitzgerald in Louisville, and Ezra Brooks in Frankfort.  The decanter is topped by a cork stopper in the shape of a football. The decanter stands approximately 9 1/2 inches in height and is 7 1/2 inches in width.

The back of the decanter says, "NEBRASKA CORNHUSKER'S Past Ten Years".  It then lists all of Nebraska's Bowl games for the previous ten years, starting with the 1972 Orange Bowl that pitted Nebraska against Alabama, a game Nebraska won 38 to 6, which resulted in a second National Championship for Nebraska. It then lists every Bowl game from 1972 through 1982 with opponent and final score.  The decanter ends with the 1982 Orange Bowl in which Clemson defeated Nebraska 22 to 15.  

The first reason this decanter is rare is because it was not put out by a major distiller like Jim Beam or McCormick.  Mike Wayne was a very small distilling company, and thus this decanter did not get wide circulation. The original sticker is still on this decanter, which says, MIKE WAYNE ORIGINALS - KENTUCKY STRAIGHT BOURBON WHISKEY - BOTTLED BY MIKE WAYNE DISTILLING CO.

Also on the back of this decanter are two pictures of Herbie Husker.  The second reason this decanter is one of the RARE Nebraska decanters is because there is some controversy as to whether or not this was an officially licensed product. The University of Nebraska may have given license for it - but Head Coach Tom Osborne was upset with this item came out and for some reason these decanters seemed to disappear quite quickly from the liquor stores in 1982.  As many of you know, Tom Osborne is very much against drinking alcohol and would always oppose any license agreement to put Nebraska images on alcohol products. That is why there are so few decanters that were made during the Osborne Era. 

The third reason this decanter is so rare is because it really is a plain and somewhat ugly decanter.  It was not very well done and there are no markings on the bottom of the decanter that you would normally find.  It is obvious this was a low-budget item that was thrown together, probably without the University's approval, and what few there were in 1982, people just were not as attracted to them back then.  But, from a collecting standpoint, all these reasons make this item a highly desirable and collectible item. 

Thanks to Bob Ihrig of Lincoln, NE for the photos and history behind this piece.

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