With their new Full Moonshine offering, the owners of Hickory Ledges Farm pay tribute to a New England tradition as well as the memory of a man close to their hearts.
Pete’s Maple 80 is the second offering from the Canton farm
and distillery, with primary ingredients of corn liquor and maple syrup. Its
name is a tribute to the late Andrew ‘Pete’ Bouchard, a Canton farmer,
businessman and active community member who passed away at the end of July.
“We did it in honor of my father,” said Lynne Olson, who runs Hickory Ledges with her husband Bill.
Bouchard produced much maple syrup in his day and often showed school kids how it’s made. And while he died before his daughter and son-in-law got their product on the shelves, he was very supportive of the venture.
“He was certainly excited about the whole process,” Lynne Olson said.
Bouchard was 80 when he passed and the Bill
and Lynne’s son Taylor came up with the name and by extension the drink’s
The Maple variety’s been in liquor stores
for about two weeks now and follows their first offering, Apple Pie, which hit
shelves in September.
While “Apple Pie” may be famous in moonshine lore the Olsons believe they are the first commercial producer to offer a maple moonshine.
While the couple has quickly been immersed in the liquor businesses the moonshine is still deeply rooted in agriculture. For years, Bill Olson has pressed apple cider at the farm, using apples from Roger’s Orchards in Southington. That came in handy as the couple was looking to diversify the farm and went through the approval process.
The couple also uses water from Birch Lane
in New Hartford, and for the new offering maple syrup from a
variety of local producers.
“We want to use native, real flavor,” Lynne Olson said. “New
England is known for apple and maple.”
The business has grown quickly and while Lynne Olson jokes
that it’s gone from a seven to eight-day-a-week job, she’s appreciative of the
reception. Already some 80 liquor stores in the state carry the moonshine and
many have had tastings, saying the product sells itself.
The apple pie has been a big hit, even with those who are
initially shy of trying moonshine. The maple is stronger in content and taste
but like the apple the Olsons are already hearing back from customers who’ve
found it mixes well with other drinks.
“”We’re very pleased with our product and support from the
community,” she said.
The couple, with some help from children Whitney and Taylor,
run every aspect of the business from manufacture, labeling, bottling, boxing
sale and distribution.
While Bill Olson plans to sell mums, vegetables, cider and other products at the farm on Bahre Corner Road, the farm like so many others has found a way to diversify and remain viable
“It’s entirely different than anything we’ve done before,” he
said. “We’re happy with it.”
For more about the Olson’s moonshine business see this
previous Patch story.
See more on the farm at: