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Issue Date: December 2010

No Fooling

Christina Bernecker
Tom Herbruck's apple brandy distillery doesn't look like much. It's just a few Prohibition-era, copper stills in a Chagrin Falls garage. The slow process yields a mere 240 bottles of the new Tom's Foolery Applejack label ($32.50) each year. "We're bringing back an authentic American drink," says Herbruck, the first state-certified micro-distiller in Northeast Ohio who was approved for liquor sales in late September. "We're going back to the basics, using the best of the traditional techniques." He uses a 200-year-old method to craft apple and water, no additives or coloring, into a product far from backyard moonshine. Softly warming the throat, there's no bite in this all-natural brandy, just a subtle, fruity sweetness that comes from the apple's natural sugar. "We ferment sweet cider into hard cider. It's got the kick of whiskey without the burn," Herbruck says.

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