A Varied History
Over the next 78 years, the farm would undergo many changes. Its owner, Patrick Ryan, was a retired New York City policeman, which may have played a part in his avoidance of prison for harboring the distillery. After the raid, he quietly reverted the property back to its turkey farm origins. A few years later, it was purchased by the German group, WDAN, turning the farm into an old age commune. Although they worked tirelessly raising corn, cows, pigs, horses and chickens, this too, did not last. The property then passed into the hands of those who managed it as a guest house and retreat, a butcher who converted one of the buildings into a slaughterhouse, and finally, in 1969, to Janet and Charles Adams, the same “potato harvester” who had worked at the distillery over thirty years earlier. For forty more years, the Adams family kept watch over the farm and its buried secrets. Then, in the spring of 2008, Charles’s grandson Alex Adams and close friend Ariel Schlein learned of the passage of the New York farm distillers’ law. They decided it was time to write another chapter in Dutch’s history.
Revitalizing The Past
In July 2011, after an extensive archaeological survey and review, the site was added to the New York State Archaeological Inventory as a “Bootleg Era Bunker Complex”, while the New York State Historic Preservation Office deemed it eligible for inclusion in the State and National Register of Historic places. Now, over eighty years later, Dutch’s Spirits is building a new distillery in the footprint of the original bunkhouse site, reviving the farmland, and restoring the bunkers for a rick house and museum that will help bring this rich history to light.