311 East Washington St.
Newtown, IN 47969
From their website:
Old 55 Distillery is a true family business. Every part of our spirit is permeated with lessons passed down to us from our grandfathers. Family, hard work, and the appreciation of something truly hand made embody the essence of what we create. The Old 55 cartouche itself builds upon these principles. The white regal stallion known as Thumos holding sway over the dark horse.
At Old 55 Distillery, we decided to name our spirits after the road you would find us on. Old 55 isn’t the fastest route and sure isn’t the straightest. However, you won’t find a road that better captures the Midwest, the fields we harvest our spirits from, and the hardworking people that travel her daily. So sit back and enjoy our hard work, great company, and a superior spirit because Old 55 will take you there.
Tasting Room Hours:
Friday & Saturday: 12 noon to 8pm
Sunday: 12 noon to 6pm
Related photo story from: Hoosier Hardwood
Interview with Jason Fruits
Podcast: The Bourbon/Whiskey Show #83: Jason Fruits, Old 55 Distillery, February 1, 2020
- Jason Fruits is the Distiller and CEO
- His families distillery
- Newtown, Indiana (3o minutes South West of Purdue University in West Lafayette and about an hour North West of Indianapolis)
- He is a Purdue graduate
- They are bringing his sister in from Carmel, IN where she is a successful interior designer
- He has a Master of Business from Purdue
- His family owns grain elevators, started by his grandfather 1968
- His grandfather retired from the Navy in the 50s after WW2, he went to Indiana University on the GI Bill, he past away in 2019. He was an all American “Bad Ass“
- He worked at a casino
- He owns the distillery with his father who does not drink alcohol by the way!
- 2008-9 his father urged him to diversify, and his little brother, Aaron, called him 2010 around 2am (Jason had just had his oldest daughter) and he gave him a business plan.
- They makes some weird thing, one of which is dog food
- 2010-11 he and is brother took his dad to the only 7 craft distilleries
- Jason then brought a business plan to his father and he and his brother Aaron had two stipulations: 1. they did to want to grow to big and 2 they wanted their father in on it.
- Their Grandfather had the capital since he had built a successful business
- Jason only ever wanted to make Bourbon, no Gin or Vodka
- They wanted it to be farm to distillery and grow all the grains
- Their saying is: “accidentally on purpose“
- They got an experimental still made by Codus (?) Stills in Germany, there never made another like it. It is a pot still with a column connected to it. It is kind of a Lamborghini of stills.
- His first mash bill was 80% Corn, 20% Soft Red Winter(?) Wheat
- Every whiskey they make is a single barrel
- They are the only North American distillery that ages all of their Bourbon underground in a basement and that leads to consistency for all their single barrels.
- 2015 Thanksgiving the brothers tasted the first drink out of one of their barrels and it was good.
- They make a 100% sweet corn Bourbon, more like a brandy
- They are and always have been self funded thanks to their grandfather and father
- They are housed in an old schoolhouse built in 1902, that is where the basement is located for storing the bourbon
- 1942 a gym was added
- 1978 it all collapsed, and the county wanted to sell it to his father for $1
- 2009 they renovated the facility with no concept of the distillery yet.
- They are releasing an 80 Proof 3 year “gateway” bourbon which is like a “starter” bourbon for new drinkers
- 2020 they are releasing their first Bottled In Bond products
- They are the only 100% sweet corn product, similar to brandy $120-$250 per bottle, Cracker Jack taste with a bubble gum finish
- Why does noone else use sweet corn?
1. Cost: normal whiskey field corn is $4 bushel (which is 56 pounds) compared to Sweet corn at $1040
- Allen Bishop is his buddy
- Tours are done by Jason or his brother or Father
- Tours and Tasting are Friday, Saturday, Noon to 8pm and Sundays noon to 6pm
- His advertising is mostly word of mouth
- His Great, great, great, great, great (5) grandfather was the last survivor of the Revolutionary War; George Fruits, Jr at 107, the flag bearer and they will make a bourbon named after him.