That on a day they are mashing, when you enter Ryan & Wood Distilleries, the place smells of Maypo? You know, the hot breakfast cereal you ate when you were a kid. It was the big vat of grains fermenting with yeast and distilled water that created the smell. Bob took me on a fascinating tour of the distillery Wednesday; a photo of the still (a beautiful thing made in Germany that looks like a strange musical instrument/decompression chamber), the aging barrels and the finished product is above. I’m not much of a drinker, and more apt to drink wine if I do; but I might have to break down and get a bottle of Folly Cove Rum or Beauport Vodka one day. I have never cared for gin at all, don’t like the smell or taste of it; but the gin they make at R&W has such a lovely aroma, I might even be willing to try that.
It was really interesting talking to Bob Ryan. He is a Gloucester man, who grew up in a tough section of town, worked the piers, as his father had done, started a bank, and now has a distillery. When I asked him what prompted him to open a distillery, his answer was very profound. After recounting stories of the factories that have closed down around Gloucester, LePage’s Glue, overnight, leaving many suddenly unemployed, he wanted to show people that they can do something new. That is important for people to keep in mind, especially in a tough economy. When the going gets tough, the tough get going (the man I trained with for the Boston marathon always said that), and it’s true. As bad as things may seem, this is still the land of opportunity, and people who are willing to run with an idea and give it their best, have a much better chance of succeeding than those who prefer to wallow in the notion that things are so bad.
If you have a chance to take a tour of Ryan & Wood Distilleries, do; you will really enjoy it. If you are a drinker of rum, vodka or gin (whiskey is coming soon also – they are just awaiting labeling approval), try Ryan and Wood’s Beauport Vodka, Folly Cove Rum or Knockabout Gin. It’s made in Gloucester with great care and passion for creating an exceptional product. Also, their bottles, which are lovely, are imported from France, not China.