A Boy's Dream

As a young boy, Tom helped his dad plant and graft small vines in their vineyard in Gates Mills, Ohio. He followed his dad along through the whole process for years from pruning to picking, pressing, barreling and bottling.  They would also press apples from their trees in the Fall to make cider which is what the main ingredient in the French Apple Brandy, Calvados. 

In addition to what he learned by doing, Tom was a prolific reader of books on winemaking and distilling.  The whole distilling process-from the mash to the fermentation to the final drop of the clear whiskey--fascinated him. The knowledge that you could take an apple (or grain or potato, etc..) and turn it in to such an incredibly complex and delicious spirit was too tempting.  So the dream was born.

The years went by and Tom and Lianne were married, had a gaggle of kids, and were motoring full-force in to life.  But the dream was still there and, every once in a while, it would wave it arms and yell "Hey!  Remember me? ". Until one day Tom said, "Let's do it."  So we started filling out paperwork and began the distillery set up.

Tom and Lianne pruchased a 30-gallon still back in 1991 when they were graduating college.  Tom has a small collection of prohibition-era stills and, although this one fit so nicely with the group, we were putting it back into commission.  

We also had to come up with a company name and Lianne thought it would be good if we always remembered why we started this venture--to have fun and share an incredible passion with friends and family.  Thus the name Tom's Foolery was born.  But don't get us wrong, we are about as serious about our spirits as anyone, maybe more. 

Once the permits were all in place, we spent the next YEAR distilling our first barrel of Applejack.  Yep, that's right, an entire year to fill our first barrel of Applejack.  But, we were having fun and decided to keep moving forward.  We purchased a larger Hoga still and began producing around three barrels a season.

Things were going well, and the product was getting better and better, so we had to make the call--stop now or go for it.  We deicded to go to the next level and, with a little help from the Beams, the future of Tom's Foolery Distillery took a new turn.

Tom Herbruck