All About Bad Tom Smith
The history of Bad Tom Smith is one with so many twists and turns that it can be confusing to navigate at first. The brewery first opened it’s doors as Double Barrel Brewing on Cincinnati’s Eastern Ave in 2012, and quickly started to run into trouble. After some legal problems with their name(s) they were forced to take a step back and try to establish just who they were at their core… and that’s where the name Bad Tom Smith popped up. Part owner, one time taproom manager, and now head brewer, Sean Smith has a family with a storied past. From their website:
On June 28, 1895, after confessing to the murder of six people, “Bad Tom” Smith uttered his final words before meeting a hangman’s noose in Breathitt County, Ky.: “Bad women and bad whiskey have brought me where I am. I give you this warning: Don’t drink bad whiskey and don’t do as I have done.” Although, he might not agree with the things that the brewery’s name sake did in his life… it’s hard to shake the story, thus Bad Tom Smith Brewing was born.”
In the years that have passed, Bad Tom Smith has never really been done changing and evolving. This is the real story of not just Bad Tom Smith as a man, but Bad Tom Smith as a brewery too.
What’s Bad Tom Smith Like?
There are now two different locations for Bad Tom, sort of. The brewery makes all its beer off-site in a production facility to serve its taproom in Madisonville. When you walk into the taproom, think of a saloon. It’s designed to be the sort of place that Bad Tom himself might have hung out in, assuming that he liked craft beer, of course. Their beers range the style gamut, but lean towards bigger beers, full-flavored and packing a punch that the man himself would have probably appreciated.
Bad Tom moved in 2019 from their original location on the east end over to its current space in Madisonville. The building was an old bank and has become the perfect home for the brewery to showcase its story alongside some great beer and its own line of spirits (though, they purchase the spirits from a different producer, as they don’t have a distilling license).
The Bad Tom Smith Timeline
- January 2013 – The brewery brews their first batch
- March 2013 – The taproom opens
- December 2013 – The brewery is forced to change its name after receiving a cease and desist letter.
- April 2015 – Two owners leave, after declining quality, and two new owners come in to resurrect the Bad Tom Smith brand.
- August 2015 – The new taproom renovations are completed.
- January 2017 – The brewery gets a new “non-Frankenstein” brewhouse.
- December 2017 – Bad Tom Smith opens their second taproom in Ohio City
- Summer 2019 – Construction on the brewery’s new Cincinnati location in Madisonville begins.
- November 11, 2019 – Bad Tom’s new location opens for business, along with their new production facility in Batavia.
- August 2020 – Bad Tom Smith introduces their own label of spirits.
- August 2021 – The second taproom in Ohio City closes.
Cincy Brewcast Episodes
- Volume 1, Episode 27 – Live At Bad Tom Smith
- Volume 1, Episode 49 – On Location – The 2016 Cincinnati Beer Week Collaboration Draft
- Volume 3, Episode 12 – Live From Bad Tom Smith – Talking Future Growth
- Volume 4, Episode 13 – Wiedemann, Boxing, Bad Tom, And Sunshine