ST. LOUIS — The Show-Me State is upping its alcohol game, joining the ranks of Tennessee and Kentucky when it comes to whiskey.
You’ll soon be able to sip on a glass of classified Missouri Bourbon Whiskey.
A group called the Missouri Craft Distillers Guild submitted a bill during the last state legislative session that would create a unique class of spirits called Missouri Bourbon Whiskey—and it passed. Missouri Governor Mike Parson signed it into law this summer.
“So now, Missouri Bourbon Whiskey is an exclusive class and type of spirits that can only be made in Missouri, by Missouri distillers,” guild president David Weglarz said on the Abby Eats St. Louis podcast.
To qualify as “Missouri Bourbon” or “Missouri Bourbon Whiskey”—and be labeled as such—the product has to meet the following conditions:
- The product must be mashed, fermented, distilled, aged and bottled in Missouri
- The product must be aged in oak barrels manufactured in Missouri
- All corn used in the mash must be Missouri-grown corn
All of the new requirements begin Jan. 1, 2020.
“It’s a no-brainer for the Show-Me State,” said Weglarz, who stands to be one of the first to take advantage of the new designation. He owns and operates StilL 630 just blocks from Busch Stadium and the Gateway Arch.
Weglarz sees how great of an opportunity this is for all of Missouri's distillers.
“All the distillers in the state joined together to try and promote our industry and show people that we make awesome stuff here at Missouri. So, it’s a really great, awesome marketing thing,” Weglarz said.
It’ll also make Missouri Bourbon Whiskey the only spirit in the entire world that has a barrel restriction on it like this.
For example, in Tennessee, spirits can only get the coveted Tennessee Whiskey designation if they’re produced in Tennessee, made of at least 51% corn, aged in new charred oak barrels and filtered through charcoal before barreling (known as the Lincoln County Process). There’s no requirement for the barrels to be made in Tennessee.
The new designation could make Missouri a destination for whiskey lovers.
“I’m thinking of all the people that travel to certain places in the world because they have distinctions like that,” Abby Eats St. Louis host Abby Llorico commented to Weglarz.
“Right, so you better add Missouri to that list,” he responded.
Weglarz said the state’s distillers wanted to bring more of the national spotlight on all the successes happening with Missouri’s alcohol producers.
“Over the last few years we distillers in Missouri have taken home some of the top honors at different spirits competitions,” he said. Weglarz’s own StilL 630 won Best Craft Whiskey according to the American Craft Spirits Association in 2016 and 2018.
And according to the Missouri Craft Distillers Guild, Missouri has all the right ingredients to make a beautiful bourbon.
‘We have the best American Oak in the world, we have the best grain in the country, and we make some of the most award-winning spirits in the nation, all right here in Missouri!’ the website proclaims.
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About Abby Eats St. Louis
Abby Llorico tells the story of St. Louis based on what’s on the table. From the hunger for local ingredients, to the booming brunch scene and the craving for creative cocktails, Abby dives into the nitty-gritty of how St. Louis grew to become the foodie town that it is.
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