Bully Boy Distillers is owned and operated by brothers Dave and Will Willis, who found their inspiration in Charlescote Farm, the fourth-generation working family farm on which they grew up.
The farm, located in the bucolic town of Sherborn, Mass., was originally purchased by the Willis’ great-grandfather as a weekend retreat for his family. In the 1920s it was passed on to Dave and Will’s grandfather, who took the farm as his family’s primary residence, living at Charlescote at the height of Prohibition.
During this time, their grandfather amassed an enviable collection of local artisan spirits, which were stored in a fieldstone vault located in the farmhouse’s basement. The subterranean vault also served as an informal speakeasy for friends and family. With names like “Medford Rum” and “Cow Whiskey,” these precursors to today’s craft spirits were harsh and remarkably undrinkable, but they had character.
Passed from generation to generation, Charlescote reinvented itself over the years. In the 1950s it served as a working dairy farm and subsidiary of Hood, Corp. During the ‘60s and ‘70s the farm was repurposed as a beef farm; today, it produces alfalfa, corn and seasonal fruits. While closely involved with the management of the farm, Dave and Will were in search of a new and less traditional way to carry on their family’s legacy of local agriculture while also satisfying a burgeoning interest in distilling.
Paying particular attention to the caliber of ingredients used in its products, Bully Boy hand-produces premium spirits in small, limited-run batches, emphasizing quality over quantity. Paying homage to the farm, the distillery is named after Bully Boy, a favorite Charlescote Farm workhorse. The beloved horse was named using the term “bully”, meaning superb or wonderful, a favorite catchphrase coined by their great-grandfather’s college roommate, Teddy Roosevelt.