It’s a process. A step by step process that mimics an art form, and highly relies on the class of ingredients. It’s not about quantity, it’s about quality. Like nothing you’ve seen on TV. And it’s certainly not what comes to mind when thinking of the rustic approach to producing handmade liquor. It’s Bully Boy.
Bully Boy Distillers, Boston’s first craft distillery, founded in 2010, is owned and operated by two brothers, Will and Dave Willis, who found their inspiration for making small-batch spirits through a local tradition and a deep-rooted family history.
It all started with a farm – Charlescote Farm, a fourth-generation working family farm, located in the bucolic town of Sherborn, Massachusetts, that the Willis’ great-grandfather originally purchased as a weekend retreat for his family. After eventually being passed on to the Willis’ grandfather, and taking a tour through the height of Prohibition, Charlescote Farm had seen its fair share of local artisan spirits.
In passing from generation to generation, Charlescote Farm continued to reinvent itself – going from dairy to beef, and, today, to alfalfa, corn and seasonal fruits. But, in 2003, roughly 70 years after Prohibition was abolished, Massachusetts enacted legislation making it easier for farms to distill spirits – thus, the concept of a distillery that honors the tradition of local artisan distilling was born.
Inspired by their family’s fourth-generation working farm, Will and Dave took the idea of local quality caliber ingredients, and focused on hand-producing premium spirits in small, limited-run batches, emphasizing quality over quantity. They’ve also committed to the use of locally-sourced and naturally-grown ingredients in order to produce spirits that are not only organic, but also USDA-certified.
And, since launching in 2010, their small batch successes have reached the likes of many locals throughout Greater Boston. For a comprehensive list of all current locations where Bully Boy’s product is available for purchase, click here.
As for continuing the family legacy – well, where does the name Bully Boy come from? Bully Boy just happens to be the name of their families favorite workhorse on Charlescote Farm. And, though, Will and Dave are busy distilling away with the goal of producing handmade beverages that taste as superb as the quality of their ingredients, they still find time to help run the family farm.
The Bully Boy Distillery is located in Roxbury, MA at 35 Cedric St., and if you’re interested in a tour, they’re available by appointment. For more information, please call 617-442-6000.
For a glimpse at the brothers in action, click here, and make sure to check out their website for a list of their handcrafted spirits and recipes, and stay up-to-date with their Facebook and Twitter pages.
Here in Massachusetts, we’re incredibly proud of the local products and producers that our state boasts – so, stand by for many more localized features much like this one. Till then, tell us about your favorite Massachusetts local product or producer in the comments below!
And, in case you’re curious to know what the inside of Boston’s first craft distillery looks like, here’s a collection of photos: (Photos courtesy of Marlo Marketing & Communications)