It's been awhile

Every time I think I am going to be better about updating this site, I never seem to get there!

We have had a very busy summer here at Tom's Foolery. 

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Lianne blogs about how we make Bourbon

The acquisition of the Stills from David Beam was a bit of a game-changer for Tom’s Foolery. What do you do now that you own an historic piece of equipment designed to make bourbon? Make Bourbon, of course! As with all of our spirits, we source as much local grain as possible for our Bourbon.

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Tom's Foolery Farm

We've got big plans here at Tom's Foolery. With the recent purchase of over 100 Acres in Troy Township, Ohio we will soon be moving our production facility and rack house.  There will be a tasting room and we will be open for limited tours in the beginning.

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David Beam

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……

With the purchase of the stills and the production of Bourbon and Rye, the dreamcontinued to grow and we started making big plans for the future of Tom's Foolery Distillery.

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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.

Jack Rose

Jack Rose

Ingredients: 2 ½ oz Tom’s Foolery Applejack 3/4oz fresh lemon juice Grenadine to taste Lemon to garnish

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A Change will do you good

There are lots of changes happening here at Tom's Foolery Distillery!  Starting with the updated website!  Check back soon for updates and musings from the resident Midwife-Distiller.

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