View Full Version : Tom's Foolery and micro-distilling in Ohio

04-03-2013, 16:15
The local free weekly did a story about Tom's Foolery and some other local micros in Cleveland.


There's nary a mention of the local bourbon alchemist in the article either.

Glad to see a good guy like Tom get positive press.

04-04-2013, 07:15
Nice article. I think I have seen posts from Tom from Tom's Foolery on SB. Do you know if they give tours?

Also, they mention the Cleveland Bourbon Club, do you know anything about that group?

04-04-2013, 11:41
Nice article. I think I have seen posts from Tom from Tom's Foolery on SB. Do you know if they give tours?

Also, they mention the Cleveland Bourbon Club, do you know anything about that group?

I too am interested in this Cleveland Bourbon group, and if they aren't open to new members, maybe it is time someone else starts another club.

04-04-2013, 11:54
That club has a web and Twitter presence.

04-04-2013, 13:47
Nice. I like how Tom, who has only been at this a couple of years, is now the dean of Cleveland-area distillers. We live in interesting times.

04-05-2013, 09:44
Interesting times, for sure. Our plan has been simple: follow an old formula and make a traditional product. Lianne and I have been the fortunate recipients of some great hands-on instruction from experienced Bourbon experts (David Beam, Dick Stoll, Baker Beam, and yes, even you Chuck), and we just did what they all said. We are following the formula the best we can.
Maybe it helped us that the sour mash whiskey process was new to us a couple of years ago, because much of that process is takes a lot of work, and we just followed formula rather than trying to find a short-cut: buy raw grain from local farmers, use backset in the traditional sour mash process, convert starch entirely by the enzymes present in the malt, manage lactobacillus growth in the open fermenters, steam and slack cypress fermenters with lime (daily!), double distill (rather than a single pass in a hybrid German still), and mature in high-quality 53-gallon barrels. And then deliver of the slop (the spent grains) to a local dairy farmer.
We are green by accident: start at the farm buying grains, turn the starch into whiskey with yeast, water and heat, and then return the grain back to the farmer (with all the protein remaining in the slop).
The chorus of cantankerous advice was this: follow the formula, it works. And it does! And it tastes great! And we are so excited that people are interested!
I am tempted to put the whiskey in a bottle and sell it right now, but my wife Lianne tells me to keep following the advice we receive from the old-timers: wait a little longer, and it will taste ever better! Yeah, I plan to keep following the advice. Seems to have worked so far …

04-05-2013, 10:42
From the descriptions, these are bourbons and ryes I'd like to taste.. :)

04-05-2013, 15:24
I can't say enough good things about Tom and Lianne, and the whole bunch up there. I was delighted to hear that there are 171 barrels of sour mash bourbon aging there right now. I don't think you can imagine how much work it takes to fill 171 53-gallon barrels using a completely manual 500 gallon pot still. But when that pipeline fills and product begins to roll out the other end, I believe everyone will be delighted.

I was last there just about a year ago. There were maybe a dozen barrels filled, and some of them were apple brandy, so most of that 171 is less than a year old. There are lots of ways to run a micro-distillery, but I'm personally glad Tom and Lianne chose to run theirs this way and I look forward to the results. If they're filling on the order of 171 barrels a year, that's not much by macro standards, but I think we'll all get a chance to try it. And it won't be a one-off. It will keep coming.

I appreciate Tom's kind words too, except the 'old timer' part.

04-06-2013, 12:02
I've spoken with Tom on several occasions and he has always been a really great guy to talk to. He bought the Michter's pot stills that were used in the "Barrel-a-day" setup at the Schaefferstown, PA distillery. He even had Dick Stoll come out and help him fire them up for the first time! Not only does he make a quality product, but he has a good understanding of American distilling history and uses it!

04-06-2013, 12:13
This is the king of operation I can get behind and support.

Dolph Lundgren
04-08-2013, 16:14
Nice to see a micro go about it this way.