Originally released in the 1990’s under the name “The Original Cowboy” with a less flashy label, the “Cowboy Little Barrel” brand was popular in the late 90’s / early 2000’s as an export-only line of premium aged bourbons and ryes. The unique products under this brand were easily identified by a small piece of burlap fabric covering the bottle cork, a large star-studded rodeo cowboy on the front label, and a few high quality oblong bottle designs.
The brand was owned and managed by Marci Palatella of Allied Lomar, the California producer behind other highly popular lines such as Very Old St. Nick, Pure Antique, and Rare Perfection. Like those brands, American Cowboy was also bottled by Even Kulsveen at KBD/Willett from premium bourbon and rye stocks sourced elsewhere and aged at KBD. The bourbon source was likely aged Heaven Hill and the ryes were likely aged Old Bernheim.
According to USPTO Trademark filings, the brand name was first used in commerce on 08/31/1995. The company then applied for a trademark to protect the name in 2001. Their trademark was approved in 2003 and then the brand disappeared entirely in 2005. The brand surfaced again 2016/2017 when Allied Lomar sued Texas-based Garrison Bros. / Lone Star Distillery over their use of the name “Cowboy Bourbon”. Allied Lomar felt that Garrison Bros’ “Cowboy Bourbon” name infringed on their trademarked name “Cowboy Little Barrel”. The case went to trial and the jury disagreed with Allied Lomar, pointing out that the “Cowboy Little Barrel” brand disappeared in 2005 and was different enough in branding as to avoid any consumer confusion.