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Fee Brothers Bitters

Fee Brothers has been involved in the drinks business in Rochester, New York since the 1870s. It was founded by James, John, Owen and Joseph Free, the original brothers, who were sons of Irish immigrants.

They began as merchants selling wine, whisky, gin and all manner of alcoholic beverages both imported and domestic. The firm survived two devastating fires but was hit hard by Prohibition which came into force in 1920. But ever-adaptable the family moved in non-alcoholic cordials and supplied the church with altar wine - one aspect of the booze business that was still legitimate.

The repeal of Prohibition in 1933 should have been a boom time but Fee Brothers struggled through the Great Depression. It wasn’t until the 1960s that they began producing the bitters that would make it world famous. Since then the firm, still in family hands, has expanded steadily and has benefited hugely from the cocktail boom of the 2010s and 2020s.

Today it is run by fifth generation family members Jon Spacher and Benn Fee Spacher. It produces over 18 different kinds of bitters so if you’re looking to jazz up your Old Fashioned, Manhattan or Pisco Sour, then you should take a look at the Fee Brothers range.

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