Gloucester once again has its very own distillery, cranking out premium vodka and soon, rum, thanks to an ambitious and enthusiastic all-in-the-family operation.
“We realize that local people work hard, are critical and deserve a world-class spirit,” said Bob Ryan, president and co-founder of Ryan & Wood Distilleries, billed as “the North Shore’s first small-batch micro-distillery of premium and handcrafted spirits.”
The earliest known dated map of Gloucester, from the 1830s, shows a distillery on the waterfront, but Ryan & Wood is thought to be the first to begin operating on Cape Ann in decades — at least legally.
“There are 72 micro-distilleries in the country, and most of them are attached to farms or restaurants,” said Ryan, 53, a native of Gloucester. “But I can’t speak for the backwoods.
“There are a lot of people who still do that, but it’s illegal and dangerous,” added Ryan, who worked for more than 30 years for his family’s fish-processing business, Atlantic Seafoods and Midship Seafoods Inc., and also had a career in banking
Now he has embarked on a new adventure with his partner and nephew, David Wood, 37, a real estate attorney who has an office in his hometown of Manchester-by-the-Sea.
The dream began simply enough, when Ryan read an article on micro-distilleries in the Wall Street Journal.
“I thought it was a joke at first but before I knew it, Bob was up and running,” Wood said.
Ryan added, “I was looking for a business you don’t find on every street corner, and Dave had worked for me before and I knew I could depend on him.
“Soon my wife, Kathy, was on board and we went online and began looking for equipment and providers,” Ryan added.
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