Partner Spotlight: Bissell Maple Farm from Jefferson, OH

This month’s partner spotlight is a sweet story of deep American roots, a passion for doing what you love most, and striving each and every day to make the best product on the planet. We’re excited to introduce you to Bissell Maple Farm from Jefferson, Ohio. This family run business has been been making maple syrup since the 1800’s in Ohio, but the formal structure of the company wasn’t created until 2010 by David Bissell. Today, Bissell Farm is run by Nate Bissell, David’s son, who we believe to be the biggest maple syrup enthusiast you’ll ever meet. Seriously.

What makes Nate a maple aficionado like no other? “I’m doing what I was put on this planet to do. I LOVE everything about maple syrup. I have even used it as a hair care product, while at a food show in New York,” he says. Nate’s passion is contagious and that’s what makes his product so good. He loves making syrup, sharing his knowledge about syrup, helping farmers, and helping others get started.

“Some of my best memories are making syrup with my dad and sharing that time with him. When I was eighteen and went off to college, spending time with my dad making syrup was what I missed the most. I have three boys I hope to share the maple making experience with one day. I’m also very fortunate to have a CEO wife (Chief Enabling Officer) who has supported me every step of the way. At one point, she let me sell her car for a forklift. Without her and my in-laws, I wouldn’t have the support to be able to do this.”

One of the great qualities that sets Bissell apart is the way they embrace economic development. They’re actually doing the things most businesses only talk about. They’ve repurposed just about everything, from a rust belt factory, to bourbon barrels, to even their people through greater employment opportunities.

Bissell’s products are about as all-American as you can get. Like baseball and bourbon, maple syrup runs deep in our country’s roots and is a shared bond we at Pappy & Company appreciate. Similar to our take on bourbon, Nate considers himself a traditionalist when it comes to making the best maple syrup. There’s nothing better than a mid-season maple syrup, still hot from the evaporator, on a freshly made waffle (because they hold more syrup than pancakes). Bissell prides themselves on being innovative and always looking for different ways to use syrup and bring it to different markets. Their goal is to put maple syrup on every table in America--ideally our Pappy & Company Bourbon Barrel Aged Pure Maple Syrup. It’s just that good.

When Bissell was starting out, bourbon barrels for aging were extremely hard to find, so Nate was reaching out to anyone he could. He started calling furniture stores that repurposed barrels into different furniture pieces and happened to contact the same furniture store that was making barrel furniture products for Pappy & Company. We caught wind of this news, as we were looking for a maple syrup farmer to make a barrel aged syrup and the rest is history.

So what exactly makes our bourbon barrel aged maple syrup the best syrup on the planet? Nate says there are three specific reasons: First, is the selection process. For our maple syrup we use red maple and sugar maple. This combination gives the best flavor and coloring to compliment the sweetness of the bourbon. Second, we triple barrel age the syrup. And third, the barrels we use are the rarest in the world, Pappy Van Winkle barrels. When you add these three factors together, Nate says he’s willing to go on the record that our maple syrup truly is the best out there.

A lot of barrel aged syrups on the market skip steps or cut costs to save on production time, but not the Bissell family. Their team picks up the barrels from the distillery the day they are dumped, because using fresh barrels is key. The maple syrup is heated to 200 degrees before filling the barrels, and then is triple barrel aged, making it three times more work than people think. It’s a genuine artisan product that no one else in the world is doing it. Why? Because it’s hard and a lot of work. But like Pappy taught us, and instilled into the the business values we share with Bissell, hard work and high quality products are the reason customers believe in us and the goods we sell. We are who we appear to be, we’re honest and we do things right, no matter what.

What’s next for the Pappy & Company and Bissell Farm collaboration? We think a Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Vinegar could be a fun experiment. Have other ideas? Be sure to email us at mollie@pappyco.com.