Bully Boy: Boston's First Post-Prohibition Craft Distillery
Will and Dave Willis have been passionate about the world of beverages since age 8. They learned how to make apple cider on their grandparent's farm, and haven't stopped distilling since. Today, they call Roxbury home, where they make whiskey, rum, gin, and vodka. Hub Week allowed the Willis brothers to not only show off their new tasting room and facilities, but to teach people about the innovation that goes into the world of booze.
Bully Boy Distillers has 283 barrels total between their two distilling sites.
Will Willis shows guests his distillery's 750 gallon still, used for vodka, rum and whiskey. Their 150 gallon still, used to make gin, can be found at their old location across the street.
Kerry Bowie is a consultant who works in the food in beverage space, specifically with brewers. He's interested in Bully Boy not only as a contributor to the world of food and drink, but as a stream of revenue into the Roxbury neighborhood.
Will explained that the majority of these bottles are gin because gin requires the most trial and error. You start with a neutral base, and then infuse it with botanicals, but it’s all about testing out new ratios -- with gin, the options are limitless.
“We have a farmer distillers license, which basically means since everything that makes the alcohol is here, we do everything in house. We do all of our own juicing, our syrups, our tonics, our bitters. You end up learning a ton and expanding your knowledge base.” -- Alex Koblan, tour guide, marketing, social media manager and bartender for Bully Boy
Opened in 2017, the tasting room is an intimate space where customers can try the distillery’s classic drinks, along with newer products in their beta phase.
Lawrence Blaushield, a self-proclaimed "work horse" for Bully Boy, packages the distillery's Old Fashioned bottled cocktail by hand. Whiskey is his personal drink of choice.
"One of the things we’re most proud of is when you come into our tasting room, there’s no cliques. It’s people from all backgrounds, and because it’s smaller, there’s a feeling of camaraderie. You can’t be anonymous here, which is I think overall a good thing.” - Will WIllis, co-founder of Bully Boy Distillers
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