Aris Wolfe: A dram of apple brandy yet…..


The grave of Andrew Wolfe

After I published my most recent article on the Wolfe family brandy distillery a Mr. Charles Wolfe contacted me to thank me and to share a few family stories.  Charles is the grandson of Aris Wolfe who was the brother of Andrew and occasionally helped out around the distillery.

The first story revolves around Charles’s father and one of his fathers cousins (one of Andrews children) hearing about just how good the Wolfe apple brandy was when they were 11 or 12 years old.  They decided they would need to check this out for themselves and waited until all the adults were away.  Subsequently they took the secured door of the gauging house off and let themselves in with intentions of sampling the brandy and covering their tracks on the way out.  Unfortunately for them the brandy had a most powerful effect and they didn’t make it back out of the building before the father and grandfather returned and got a good whooping in return for their troubles and scolded to never do it again.

The second story revolves around Aris Wolfe in the closing days of his life.  At 92 years old he was recounting the “old days” at Wolfe Valley and the Stillhouse Hollow.  He mentioned he wished he had another bottle of the old Wolfe apple brandy so Charles decided he would do the best he could to please him and went to the local package store and got him a pin.  Once he returned home and gave the bottle to Aris the man looked at him and said “This stuff isn’t fit to drink”  His father was there and he took a drink as well and laughed before mentioning that this brandy was 86 proof and Charles should have got 100 proof.  Charles went back to the store and got the 100 proof offering which he brought back to Aris who took a swig and replied; “Well, that is better but it’s nowhere near as good as ours.”  He passed a month or so later.

Charles recounts; “My grandfather died at 92 and my dad died at 95, evidently the brandy didn’t hurt them much.”

So the next time you readers out there pick up a good dram of apple brandy take a swig for Aris and Andrew and all they contributed to Hoosier distilling history!


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