Justin Frape, Head Distiller, has been an avid fan of craft spirits for many years, but a nudge from his lawyer (of all people!) opened up his mind to the possibility of producing distilled spirits using local ingredients.
In the fall of 2014, Justin decided to make the jump and purchased an all-copper column reflux still from a coppersmith in Ballard County, Kentucky and grain mashing and brewing equipment was sourced from Knoxville, Tennessee.
Frape and Sons was born in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada when the first distilled spirit base started pouring into a finishing jug on the evening of May 3rd, 2015 in the presence of Justin, his wife Katherine, and a very curious neighbor who had been following the progression of the distillery.
We are distillers of craft cocktail bitters. Be careful to make the distinction, here; there are many FORMULATORS of bitters, who purchase bulk ethanol and steep botanicals and spices in the alcohol base. We are bitters DISTILLERS; we make our alcohol bases by hand with molasses from Ontario sugar refineries, local fruit and local grains. A hundred gallons of distiller's beer, which is the input for the still, will net us between five and eight gallons of alcohol base. It's relatively neutral following distillation, but it could hardly be described as smooth; we like single pass distillations for the character that they impart to the bitters.