Saturday, June 25, 2011

Michter's Barrel-A-Day Distillery in New Home

By 1976, Pennsylvania’s struggling Michter’s Distillery was betting heavily on tourism to keep its doors open. To attract visitors during the bicentennial year, they installed a small, historic-scale demonstration distillery in one of the site’s 19th century buildings. Built by Vendome, it was a complete distillery with mash cooker, fermenters, beer still, spirit still, condenser, and all associated tanks and other accessories. It can produce about 50 gallons of spirit a day, enough to fill one standard whiskey barrel.

The barrel-a-day distillery operated at Michter's for the next 14 years. After Michter's closed it sat there for a few years until 1996, when it was purchased by David Beam, who moved it to Bardstown, Kentucky. It was put on display there but never used.

In February of this year it was purchased by Tom's Foolery Distillery in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. After a trip to Vendome for refurbishing it was moved to its new home. Tom and Lianne Herbruck put the major pieces in place over Father's Day weekend. They currently make applejack (i.e., apple brandy) but with the new/old stills they also intend to make whiskey.

No decision has been made on an exact start date and, of course, it will be years before they have any aged whiskey to sell, but the Herbrucks tend not to let grass grow under their feet so I expect the first batch will be made sooner rather than later.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Thanks so much for this update about the Michter stills. I thought long and hard about trying to buy them from David and had a long conversation with David a few years ago about it.

It was the history that excited me but I just couldn't figure out how to make it work at our place. Hats off to you for following them and hats off to Tom and Lianne Herbruck for making a good home for them.

Dan Garrison