Tom’s Foolery began as a hobby: a barn, a still, and a family with passion for quality and tradition.
Tom’s Foolery became a traditional American distillery where we make great products from scratch and share the experience with friends.
Our focus is on Applejack, Bourbon, and Rye Whiskey, pot-distilled in the heart of America’s Snowbelt.
At Tom's Foolery, we are about to start up our 5th set of stills. From the very small to the very large (well, large for our standards!), each still set has been just right for our production speed.
Tom's Foolery started out with a small (30-gallon) prohibition-era copper still Tom and Lianne bought just before they graduated college. It took us an entire year to make our first full barrel of Applejack on that still! Ready for more, we upgraded to a Hoga copper-pot still. As our production increased, we were trying to assess the availability of an even larger set of stills.
Well, we got the chance of a life-time in 2010 to own a piece of Americana when David Beam agreed to sell us the old Michter's Jug House set from the Michter's Distillery in PA. It came with a beer still, a whiskey still, a mash cooker and three beautiful open cypress fermenters. Best of all, the stills came with hands-on instruction from some really experienced distillery-men!
Check out this old blog describing those stills a little:
Part of History
There is a great story behind the small copper stills at Tom’s Foolery: they are the first pot stills built for an American whiskey distillery following Prohibition. The stills were built in 1976 to recreate an authentic 1800’s-style pot-distilled bourbon. This little distillery, known at the time as the Michter’s Jug House, was America’s first micro-distillery. In that year, passionate whiskey-men distilled the first pot-distilled Bourbon and Rye in America since the 1900’s. Two decades later, after the Jug House had closed, David Beam and his boys rescued the stills, fermenters, and accompanying tanks and kept them safe for 15 years before moving them to Tom’s Foolery in 2011. Tom’s Foolery is not an old distillery, but our traditions and techniques have been carefully handed down to us by some of America’s most experienced whiskey makers.
If you're further interested in the story of how these pot stills came to Tom's Foolery, check out this page!
After filling our current rack house to the gills, we had to part ways with the beautiful Jug House stills and return to our beloved Hoga still. However, as we are in the process of developing our Farm property out in Burton, Ohio, we decided to keep our eyes peeled for another interesting still configuration that might be a fit for us. Lo and behold, we found a beautiful 150 year old copper cognac still from France! It's arrival this summer will make our 5th still set-up since we got our permits in 2008! We can't wait to fire this beautiful baby up!!
At Tom’s Foolery, we make decisions by taste and smell, the same way it was done when bourbon was invented. No added chemicals, flavors, enzymes, sugar or coloring. We are pretty low-tech, and prefer to let things happen in a natural way. The result is an authentic, bold, and full-flavored whiskey.
Connected to Nature
At Tom’s Foolery, we know that Mother Nature is in charge. We are located in the Snowbelt of Northeast Ohio, and the seasons are strong. Our whiskey rackhouse is unheated, and filled with barrels of whiskey and applejack that need time to mature. In the summer heat, whiskey evaporates right through the sides of the oak barrels, and during our cold Ohio-winters, warehouse temperatures fall below zero, enriching our whiskey with oxygen. The result of this uniquely-Ohio, cold-maturation is a less-oaky, fuller-bodied and more complex whiskey. At Tom’s Foolery, we love what we are doing, and we love the products that we make. We would never cut corners or rush the process.
Tom’s Foolery is a place for people to be inspired and to connect with friends, family, and a traditional way of life. Tom’s Foolery is part of a community; while we grow a portion of our own fruit and grain, we also get to know the local farmers who produce additional grain for our whiskey and fruit for our applejack. We try not to take ourselves too seriously. We always welcome new friends, a chat with a neighbor, and have time to share a meal and a drink with a guest.
Tom’s Foolery is for hard-working people, for adventurers, and for dreamers. Tom’s Foolery is for people who care where their food comes from, and how it is made. Tom’s Foolery is a place where traditions and history are honored, and new frontiers explored. The result is a better tasting whiskey, and a better way of life.