16-year-old is selling his own brand of maple syrup in 100 stores after tapping thousands of trees

A 16-year-old has turned his love of making maple syrup into a lucrative business with the production of his own brand, which is already available in 100 stores. 

Will Wanish, a junior at Colfax High School in Wisconsin, has thousands of trees tapped and a production facility with $30,000 in new equipment, where he makes and bottles his Wanish Sugar Bush maple syrup. 

‘This is what I want to do for the rest of my career,’ he told KARE11. ‘I don’t even eat breakfast in the morning — [I] get up and go.’

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Budding entrepreneur: Will Wanish, a junior at Colfax High School in Wisconsin, is the teen behind the family-run maple syrup business Wanish Sugar Bush

Amazing: The 16-year-old started tapping trees and making maple syrup with his uncle in 2018 and turned the hobby into a career

Amazing: The 16-year-old started tapping trees and making maple syrup with his uncle in 2018 and turned the hobby into a career 

Will started tapping trees and making maple syrup with his uncle during the 2018 season and continued the hobby the following year. 

The teen’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to start his company, Wanish Sugar Bush, though his father, Todd, admitted he was skeptical at first. 

‘I said, “You know you can go to Walmart and buy a gallon of Mrs. Butterworth for seven bucks,”‘ Todd told KARE11 with a laugh.   

Will has gone from having just a few tapped trees in his yard to monitoring roughly 3,000 taps on several parcels of forest land owned by his family and neighbors.

Big business: Will has gone from having a few tapped trees in his yard to monitoring roughly 3,000 taps on several parcels of forest land owned by his family and neighbors

Big business: Will has gone from having a few tapped trees in his yard to monitoring roughly 3,000 taps on several parcels of forest land owned by his family and neighbors

Smart: Will used the money he made working at a neighbor¿s dairy farm to build a steel sugar shed for the company when he was 15

Smart: Will used the money he made working at a neighbor’s dairy farm to build a steel sugar shed for the company when he was 15

He has also replaced his collection bags with miles of tubing that distribute the sap into large tanks that are pumped out daily. 

The budding entrepreneur used the money he made working at a neighbor’s dairy farm to build a steel sugar shed for the company when he was 15. 

He then took out a microloan from a local regional business fund to fill the facility with $30,000 in syrup-making equipment to grow his business.  

‘This is all I think about,’ said Will, who makes the syrup after school.

Expansion: The high schooler took out a microloan from a local regional business fund to fill the facility with $30,000 in syrup-making equipment to grow his business

Expansion: The high schooler took out a microloan from a local regional business fund to fill the facility with $30,000 in syrup-making equipment to grow his business

Dedicated: 'This is all I think about,' said Will, who makes the syrup after school

Dedicated: ‘This is all I think about,’ said Will, who makes the syrup after school

Helping hands: Will's family and friends are helping him bottle the syrup during busy spring season

Helping hands: Will’s family and friends are helping him bottle the syrup during busy spring season

The teen will sometimes work in his sugar shed until 4 a.m. and get only a few hours of sleep before his classes. 

Local: Wanish Sugar Bush's pure maple syrup is now sold in 100 stores in Wisconsin and Minnesota

Local: Wanish Sugar Bush’s pure maple syrup is now sold in 100 stores in Wisconsin and Minnesota

‘Even when he was little, there was no nap,’ his mother, Heather, said of his energy.   

She was the one who helped him with marketing, and now his 100 per cent pure maple syrup is being sold in a total of 100 stores in Wisconsin and Minnesota.  

Spring is his busy season, and this year he is getting bottling help from his friends and family. 

His father and grandfather also collect sap for him in 300-gallon tanks that they keep in the beds of their pick-up trucks. 

The only thing in his Wanish Sugar Bush maple syrup is sap from maple trees in northwestern Wisconsin, according to the company’s website. 

Customers can also buy the syrup online. 

One gallon of Will’s pure maple syrup costs $77, while an 8-ounce bottle goes for $6. He even sells a cinnamon flavor. 

Will already has an impressive business going, but he has plans to push himself even further.   

‘I want to be at least 20,000 taps within 15 years,’ he said.