Haskell's whiskey hidden in B-59 bombers, headed for Japan

Wine is a celebration of the people and the history in each bottle. We're proud to be Minnesota's family connection to the world of wine and spirits since 1934. 

We Are The Wine People - These Are Our Stories.


Armand-Crump-1.pngSince 1934, Haskell’s has been Minnesota’s destination for wine. So how did Texas-based B-29s on their way to bomb Japan end up with $5,000 of Haskell’s whiskey hidden in their airframes? It starts with Armand Crump.

In 1945, 2nd Lieutenant Armand Crump was stationed at Biggs Army Airfield in El Paso, Texas, assigned to ready a fleet of 16 B-29 bombers headed for war in the Pacific. Word had come from the front that alcohol was in short supply, so they decided to do the boys a favor and go on the war’s biggest liquor run. With a collected $5,000 stuffed in bags, they set out in search of liquor. No matter where they looked, nothing…no one had that much liquor. Calling all over the nation, they finally reached a distributor in Florida that said “There’s only one guy who can get you what you need. His name is Haskell, and he’s an old bootlegger who runs an operation out of the Twin Cities.” One phone call to Benny Haskell and it was clear he had what they needed. They were off to Minneapolis: two pilots, Armand Crump, a bag of money, and a B-17 bomber.

Landing the B-17 on a dirt air strip at Honeywell, Armand met a truck that brought him to Benny Haskell’s warehouse. After correctly answering Benny’s loaded question of “Are you fighting men?”, Armand was presented with two milk trucks fully loaded with $5,000 worth of liquor at wholesale price. With the plane weighed down with bottles, they had to start takeoff from the very back of the runway, narrowly skimming a cornfield as they pulled up.

Back in El Paso, the war’s biggest liquor run hit a snag: the booze wasn’t on the lading, which listed everything that boards the planes to ensure proper weight distribution. After some quick thinking and several winks, the planes lined up for final inspection with $5,000 in liquor hidden in their airframes. Off to Kearney, Nebraska, the final staging area before heading to the Pacific.


Armand was in the Officer’s Club in Kearney, Nebraska when the news broke—Japan had surrendered. Armand ran out to the flight line to see celebrating mechanics opening up the bombers to get at the hidden liquor, snatching a few bottles before MPs came in to guard the planes. The war’s biggest liquor run stopped there in Kearney, Nebraska. Armand’s squadron never flew to the Pacific and never fought the Japanese, as they’d trained for three years to do. Finally, the war was over.

Who knows if any of the B-29s from Biggs Field in El Paso still exist. But if you happen to find one, and you know where to look, you just might find a bottle of well-aged whiskey…courtesy of Haskell’s.

Shop Haskell's Online


Screen Shot 2016-11-09 at 3.40.13 PM-696902-edited.png

Basil Hayden's Straight Kentucky Whiskey

In 1796, Master Distiller Basil Hayden Sr. broke 'the rules' by mixing small grains into the mash of a traditional corn base.  His recipe was a masterpiece, resulting in a unique, singular small batch bourbon whiskey that was blessed with rich hints of peppermint, notes of pepper, slight citrus overtones, and a spicy, warming finish.




Screen Shot 2016-11-09 at 3.45.02 PM.png

Tin Cup American Whiskey

This is a classic American Whiskey!  It has a bourbon style profile with a bold and spicy finish.  Cut to proof with what is believed to be the best water in the world, direct from the Rockies.  Life is too short to drink bad whiskey.



John Barr Scotch Whisky

(In-Store Only)

This Reserve Blend is characterized by rich aromas of chocolate, baked sweet apple and freshly baked bread followed by notes of ripe apricot, gingerbread and hazelnuts on the palate and a lingering maple finish.


Revel Stoke Root Beer Whisky

(In-Store Only)

New to the market, this whisky has natural root beer flavors which are infused before bottling.  The color is deep cola brown, the aroma is root beer.