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Times of Wayne County

Williamson Fruit Farmer in Good Spirits

Wayne County is known for Apples and for over 75 years, the DeFisher family has been known for growing the popular produce.

While the farm now yields many different fruits including cherries, pears, peaches, and most recently raspberries, fourth generation farmer David DeFisher has been cultivating a new plan for the family’s business.

David, who runs DeFisher Fruit Farms along with his father William, had been looking for a new way to utilize the family’s crop.

“I remember reading an article about fruit farmers starting their own craft distilleries and thought it sounded interesting” DeFisher recalled.

Within a few weeks, David and his wife Christine had signed up for a class on Craft Distilling offered by Cornell. After completing the course, the couple decided to take the leap and begin the lengthy process of becoming a legal distillery.

“It was a lot of paperwork, a lot of back and forth with the government and several years of planning to get things where they are today.”

While visiting several distilleries around New York, David and his wife met Collin McConville. At the time, Collin was the Assistant Distiller at a small family operation downstate. A few weeks after meeting the DeFishers, he contacted them about a new opportunity – becoming Head Distiller at the family’s newly formed business.

When asked about hiring Collin, DeFisher joked “… with a name like Colin McConville he had to be good!”
It only takes a few minutes of speaking to McConville to figure out why he landed the position. From his impressive knowledge of the process to the excitement with which he speaks about it, it’s easy to see why McConville was an obvious choice for the Family’s new endeavor.

Five years and thousands of details later, Apple Country Spirits is set to hold their Grand Opening this Saturday, August 3rd.

Their first product, TREE Vodka is a premium small batch distilled Vodka. Unlike ordinary vodkas, it’s crafted from fresh apples.

McConville mentioned “Many people ask if it tastes like Apples. It doesn’t. But it has a fresh taste, slightly sweet, and a purity that is unmatched by the mass produced grain vodkas.”
Both McConville and DeFisher are excited about the future of Apple Country Spirits. This includes flavored vodkas, hard cider and their “Apple Jack” which will be aging two years in old whiskey barrels.
DeFisher hopes that the Farm Distillery becomes a place where people can learn about the process of not only craft distilling but farming as well. “We think Agri-Tourism will be on the rise over the next few years.”

To learn more, you can visit Apple Country Spirits at 3274 Eddy Road in Williamson, weekends from Noon until 5pm or online at applecountryspirits.com

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