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by Jessica Waytenick • December 28, 2011

Address: 303 N. Cody Road in LeClaire, Iowa

Phone: 563-484-4342

Web Site: www.mrdistilling.com

Hours: Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday 12-5 p.m. Freetours given on the hour from 12-4 p.m. No tour reservations needed, except for large groups.

Admission: Free

Media Contact: Ryan Burchett, 563-484-4342 or ryan@mrdistilling.com

What’s New:

  • After being aged for a year in small white ash barrels,the new 1,000 bottles of Cody Road Bourbon sold out in less than a month!  They are making more for next December.
  • Midwest Living magazine listed the distillery asone of its “Top 25 Places to Stay, Eat and Play” in their annual January 2012 issue.

As artisan distillers, everything“from grain to glass” is done at the Mississippi River Distilling Company inLeClaire.  It’s only the third in the State of Iowa. 

Distillers, and brothers, Ryan andGarrett Burchett decided to take a chance and open the distillery in 2010.  “What started as a crazy idea, has grown intoan opportunity to create something that these parts haven't seen since Prohibition. It’s a chance for people in Iowa and Illinois to enjoy truly home grown,handmade spirits,” says Ryan.  “This isreally a dream come true.”

100% of the grain comes from within25 miles of the distillery, purchased directly from the farmer who grewit.  According to the American Distilling Institute, the Mississippi RiverDistilling Company is one of only about a dozen micro-distillers in the countryand the only in Iowa or Illinois to use only local grains in their spirits.

The grain is first sorted and cleaned and then milled into aflour-like consistency.  The grain is cooked to make a mash and yeast isthen added to let it ferment.  The fermented mash is distilled and thenfiltered and blended to proof.  From there, it either goes into a barrelor a bottle.  This small batch process ensures that only the sweetest,smoothest portion of each distillation is used. 

Their first product was River Baron Vodka, a premium sippingvodka.  The next item was River Rose Ginwith a recipe that dates back to the late 1800s.  River Pilot Vodka is a crystal-clear vodkaperfect for mixing.  Cody Road Bourbon wasnamed after Buffalo Bill Cody who was born in LeClaire.  It came to age in December 2011, and quickly sold out!  Cody Road Rye is due in November 2012 with 100% local rye from Fulton, Illinois.

The Mississippi River Distilling Company have done several seasonal products and partnered with other local producers.  The first one was with the Wide River Winery in Clinton, Iowa, where they aged the whiskey in the oak wine barrels to givethe whiskey a subtle red wine flavor. They have also created the Iowa Coffee Company Liqueur by infusing theRiver Pilot Vodka with Iowa Coffee Company coffee, vanilla beans, sugar, andcinnamon, and Pride of the Wapsi Strawberry Flavored Vodka with strawberries from Scott County, Iowa.

The largest eye-catcher in the riverfront building is acopper and stainless steel still that was handmade by Kothe DistillingTechnologies in Eislingen, Germany.  The still, which has beenaffectionately named “Rose” by the distillers, consists of a 1,000 literboiling pot and two tall copper purification columns.  Those columns houserectification plates that allow the purest vodka to be distilled, up to 95%alcohol.  Some or all of those plates can be turned off to make whiskey ina traditional pot still fashion or anything in between.

The building also hosts a retail areafeaturing their products, along with bar glassware, clothing and othersouvenirs.  The free tour takes visitors through the entire distillingprocess. Tours end in the Grand Tasting Room with free samples of productsfor those patrons over 21 years of age.

For a new distillery, they havebeen catching the eye of quite a few well-known sources.  When President Obama stayed overnight at theHotel Blackhawk in Davenport in late summer 2011, he received a bottle of RiverBaron Vodka.  River Pilot Vodka received aGold Medal at the Beverage Tasting Institute International Review of Spirits,as well as a Bronze Medal at the 2011 New York International SpiritsCompetition.  TheFiftyBest.com recognizedlocally crafted River Baron Vodka as one of the top 10 vodkas made in theUnited States.  John Roberts, SeniorNational Correspondent for FOX News, toured Mississippi River DistillingCompany and wrote a feature article for FoxNews.com.

 

 

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