Charles Fleischmann was born in 1834 near Budapest Hungary and Maximillian Fleischmann in Austria in 1846. Charles came to America during the Civil War from Austria where he had managed a distillery. Once in America, he quickly saw the need for the improvement of baking and returned to Austria to acquire samples of yeast used in baking there. His brother Maximillian returned with him to America and the two formed a partnership with James Gaff, a Cincinnati distiller, in 1868. America had its first standardized yeast, revolutionizing the baking industry. A few years later in 1870, a subsidiary named the Fleischmann Distilling Company was founded and America had its first distilled gin as well.

The Great Centennial Exposition of 1876, the first official World's Fair in the United States, occurred in Philadelphia. Among exhibits and offerings at this event were Alexander Graham Bell's telephone, Remington's Typographic Machine (the typewriter), Heinz Ketchup and Fleischmann's Vienna Bakery. The response to the bakery was overwhelming and demand for the yeast caused the company to build another factory in Peekskill, NY and eventually a distillery there as well.

Fleischmann purchased the shares of the company when Gaff died in 1879. Over the next several decades, Fleischmann expanded their foray into spirits with Eastern Rye Whiskey, cordials, bourbon and vodka. In 1975, they were the first to introduce an American-made Amaretto – Amaretto di Amore.

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