In mid 2019, a group of the Bluemont team took a little field trip to Kansas City to visit a handful of distilleries that we offer in our lounge. If you’re in to this stuff as much as we are, then stop by and strike up a conversation!
It’s much more enjoyable to sell cocktails when you know the people and story behind them.– Hattie
Our first stop was J. Rieger & Co. located in the West Bottoms district of Kansas City. This company had been closed since 1919 and was revived by a descendant of the Rieger family and Ryan Maybee – a local bartender and restaurateur. In the last 5 years they have been able to purchase the historic Heim Brewery bottling house which used to bottle more than 100,000 bottles of beer per day. The Heim beer brand was also lost during Prohibition. This beautifully restored venue was very impressive. Our team was able to tour through the distillery and barrel rooms. After trying a number of their whiskey’s we were also able to try out specialty cocktails in their upper level Monogram Lounge and “ride the slide” to the ground floor.
The next stop was Restless Spirits. Several members of our team were excited about visiting this small distillery who created the Builder Botanical Gin. We have been serving this Gin in the Bluemont Lounge and it’s become very popular amongst our regular who would normally not prefer Gin. Builder’s Botancial Gin is now the official Gin of historic Fenway Park in Boston. Their brand representative Jamie pulled out all the stops. After a building tour, we were treated to a tasting of all of their offerings including Gin, Whiskey, Vodka and Poitin. The Poitin and another Gin are unavailable on the market so getting to sample these specialty items was incredible. Look over their packaging closely for unique markers specific to their overall branding.
I think the main thing that stood out about was that J. Regier used old sherry barrels to hold their whiskey which gives the it a very unique flavor.– Sean
Stop number three was with Union Horse Distilling Co. This business has some great stories and the most impressive thing is their family-owned and operated aspects. Each bottle is complete by hand. No machines. The care that they take with each bottle is amazing. They have earned a number of awards like the A+ Rating from Liquor.com for the Barrel Strength Reunion Rye (which was one of our favorites) and the 2017 Top 10 Vodka listing from USA Today for Rider Vodka. Plus, their brand rep Louisa is enthusiastic and engaging. Our very own Chris Backman was able to create specialty cocktails from behind their onsite bar!
Lifted Spirits was a real fun surprise. They were not offering tours they day we arrived, but after chatting with their staff in the tasting room we were honored with a private behind the scenes tour. This distillery is a small operation with big attitude. The motto of “Freedom Lies in Being Bold” is amongst their sayings and the Wheat Whiskey, Gin, Vodka and Absinthe really delivered great flavors.
Tom’s Town was our final destination and we enjoyed a couple tasting trays and appetizers in the restaurant and bar.