Wildfether distilling

Haddonfield, NJ has a rich history dating back to the mid-1600s. Founded by Quakers, the town grew into what is now repeatedly voted one of the best places to live, shop or dine in the Delaware Valley. With beautiful colonial architecture, manicured gardens, and tree-lined streets, Haddonfield is a place where courtesy is the norm and friendliness is common.

It’s no wonder that residents of a neighbouring county, Tommy and Dana Alfinito, made frequent visits and spent time dining in the quaint restaurants and walking the streets admiring the architecture.

In 2015, they decided to move to Haddonfield and Tommy set forth with a business idea.

Tommy and Dana had owned a successful gym for the past 13 years. Looking to try something new, he dreamed of exploring his passion for various whiskeys. However, opening a distillery faced a few challenges, not the least of which was the fact that Haddonfield, with its Quaker ancestry, was deemed a “dry” town.

There was already a brewery in town and Tommy discovered they were operating under a state production license, meaning they didn’t require a local liquor license (of which there were none) to operate. Quick thinking and a fast application to the state was approved and Tommy was ready to find his location.

During one of their many walks through town, Tommy discovered that the beautiful and historic Jennings House was available. This large and spacious home would require extensive renovations but would be the perfect venue and setting for Tommy’s vision.

Shortly thereafter, Wildfether Distilling was born. Tommy chose the name as a tribute to his mother, who passed 10 years earlier.

A story he often heard while growing up was that she found a feather and made it into an earring, so the name is about that story and a nice way to honour her memory. He dropped the “a” in feather as a way to make it stand out.

Tommy visited and spoke to other distilleries, researching the best equipment options. All roads led to Specific and he placed an order for a 500 Litre pot still. His idea was to produce four kinds of whiskey…bourbon, rye, wheat whiskey and single malt. Like many other fledgling distilleries, he distilled Gin and Vodka to generate and maintain cash flow while his whiskey aged.

A smart man with a keen business acumen, Tommy took on the role of head distiller.

Some science and mechanical challenges presented themselves, but he triumphed over them quickly and found he had a knack for distilling. 

With the renovations complete and the still hard at work, Wildfether Distilling opened its doors and featured two bars and tasting rooms, a lounge area, rentable space and of course outdoor patios on both levels.

The tasting rooms proved a runaway success, largely due to the genius of the creator of the craft cocktails, Ethan Sherman. Tommy’s vision was to have everything sourced locally and produced on-site. With that in mind, Ethan has a dedicated lab area where he can experiment with various ingredients to fully highlight the freshly distilled spirits.

Originally, they thought they’d be making about 40 cocktails per week, but it turned out to be 1500 and more! So successful is the distillery, Tommy just took delivery of a 400-gallon pot still and two 800-gallon Fermenters from Specific to help keep up with the demand. He says, “My motto is ‘flavour over everything else’ and everything else tends to be efficiency…we do a lot of things that aren’t very efficient, but it helps create the flavour I want.”

Tommy and Dana Alfinito’s dreams have come true, the lovely, quaint town of Haddonfield, NJ is blessed with friendly townsfolk, beautiful scenery and now has world-class craft cocktails adding to the many reasons it’s such a sought-after place to live.

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