When Ed Belfoure ’67 retired as a chemistry instructor at the Naval Academy, he and his wife planned to spend their time traveling. But after visits with their children out-of-state and a lengthy vacation abroad, Belfoure realized he needed something else to fill his days.
With his wife’s support, he started a distillery in downtown Washington, Pennsylvania. Red Pump Spirits is named for the red pump from his grandparents’ home in Cokeburg, Pa., which now sits in the tasting room.
With his chemistry background and knowledge gained from making wine with his family while growing up, Belfoure had some ideas about the types of products he wanted to make.
He started with three fruit liqueurs made with peach, cherry, and blackberry juices in a distilling process similar to wine-making.
Six spirits are now produced under the Red Pump name: the three fruit liquors, Jefferson Peach, Washington Cherry, and Bradford Blackberry; Blue Parrot Vodka; Rebellion Rye Whiskey; and Farmhouse Whiskey, a wheat whiskey.
So far the reaction has been positive. His Bradford Blackberry liqueur was awarded bronze in the Specialty Spirits category at the American Craft Spirits Association’s annual Distillers Convention and Vendor Trade Show in Nashville in February, and the customer response has often made it difficult to keep his products on the shelf.
As part of W&J Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship Max Miller’s Business Plan Development class, Belfoure worked with W&J students in the spring to develop a plan to enhance his marketing efforts.
Red Pump Spirits are available by the glass or by the bottle on site. They can also be found on the menu at Presidents Pub in Washington, Pa., and at several other restaurants.
Over time, Belfoure plans to expand the distillery’s production capacity, add an event room to the facility, and make Red Pump Spirits available in more area restaurants and in stores.