When we say maple syrup, usually first think on pancakes. Bruce Olson and Steve Buchsbaum came up with the idea to start distilling their own maple brandy. Initially they did not know if at all possible.
We really don`t know how to call a spirit distilled from fermented maple syrup. It is essentially a brandy, but brandy is obtained by distillation of wine or fermented fruit juice, and this is not the case. It doesn’t fit into any category. It does not matter. It is important that tasty. They call their product Knotted Maple, and we’re pretty sure it’s one of a kind.
Olson and Buchsbaum, longtime friends, recently became business partners when they decided to open a winery and distillery, called Tree Spirits, out of a former garage on Fairfield Street in Oakland. Ten years ago Olson bought the old garage to use as storage space and has been experimenting with winemaking there. He started with traditional wine made from grapes, but over the years got more creative and tried fermenting apple cider and sap from a maple tree in his backyard. Buchsbaum tried that wine and thought that they could sell it.
They started selling their maple spirits and sweet sparkling maple wine just before Christmas. Within a couple of months, they’ll be bottling applejack and dry sparkling wines for retail sale.
Tree Spirits is one of six distilleries in the state, according to the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. There are 26 licensed wineries. Tree Spirits’ maple products are made with syrup from Bacon Farm in Sidney. Cider from The Apple Farm in Fairfield is used in the wine and applejack.
A 375-milliliter bottle of Knotted Maple costs $35.99. It is not cheap, but the price is justified by the fact that this spirit is unique and locally made.