David Beam and his family
As the Applejack for batches 3 & 4 were being crafted and placed in their wooden homes to age, Tom was already thinking about the next step for our little artisan distillery. Tom started listening for any ripples in the air, making phone calls and doing his research. It wasn’t long before he got a bug in his ear about a really incredible and historic set of Copper Pot Stills that just might be up for sale.
This equipment was designed as a “Barrel-A-Day” distillery. This means that when one cypress fermenter full of whiskey mash is double distilled (one time through each of the copper pot stills) you will get approximately 1 barrel of whiskey. These beautiful stills had been tucked away in a barn by former owner David Beam. David bought them from the Michter’s Distillery in the early 1990’s with the dream of someday putting them back in to production with his sons. In the meantime they were on display as both a museum and monument to the equipment and the historic distillery where they once lived. After a few phone calls, and a gentleman's handshake, the stills continued their legacy and made the move to Tom's Foolery.
Tom brought back some of the pieces on various trips to Kentucky including the head and tail boxes and various spirits tanks. The stills they were quite a bit larger than our present equipment and all the parts that came with them were like puzzle pieces. Fortunately, we had the original blueprints from Vendome. We had a big job in front of us! Although it was a couple of months in the making, it was well worth the wait!!!
This new transition was a big one, but we felt we were in good hands, as we had been in contact with Dick Stoll, the one man who used to run these stills every day when they were in production at the distillery in Schaferstown, PA. We also had the interest and experience from David Beam. So we invited them all out for a weekend to learn from them and run the equipment.
David, his sons, Bill and Troy, and his Grandson, Ben came the first weekend to milling grain and put the finishing touches on pipes and pumps and talking fermenter care. Practical knowledge and factory tips straight from the man…it was educational and fun.
The weekend Dick Stoll came by, David’s third son, John Ed, came up to help out, too. It was like Dick never left his old job! Even with the equipment in a different layout, he didn’t miss a beat. It was fun to watch him work and see the joy in his eyes. Tom took in everything he could.
So, a time-tested recipe, historic equipment and unbelievable access to two experienced distiller’s brains and even getting to train with them….hmmmm…..Sounds like a recipe for total Bourbon Yumminess……