Oldest Distillery West of the Mississippi
Missouri's 160-Year-Old Bourbon Distillery
With bourbon being one of the hottest trends right now, there is no better time to check out the oldest distillery west of the Mississippi River. Located just forty-five minutes Northwest of Kansas City in Weston, Missouri, the Holladay Distillery has been distilling, aging and bottling whiskey for 160 years and counting. Discover, experience and enjoy the bourbon-making process at Holladay Distillery, as tours are now open to the public for the first time in twenty years.
Jordan Germano, Tourism Marketing Manager at Holladay Distillery, cites the recent “bourbon boom” as a reason for the distillery opening its tours again, this past April. “People are interested in bourbon and not only if they’re bourbon drinkers. If they haven’t been to Kentucky or Indiana, most likely they haven’t seen learned the history or seen the process itself,” she says.
The tour showcases the labor-intensive process, taking guests “from the water to the whiskey” as Germano describes it. “From the beginning water source—limestone spring water, which is a very important part of making bourbon, all the way to our state-of-the-art bottling line. It’s very hands-on and unique.”
Covering over 150 acres, the distillery sits on its original site and everything has been restored to maintain its history. The distillery has a great sense of pride with its history as Germano describes its founder, Benjamin Holladay, an impressive man quite overlooked in American history. “He was the founder of the stagecoach line, which brought goods out West and was at one time the largest private employer in the United States. He was very influential during the late 1800s and got his start in Weston.”
Weston is a small, storybook town, according to Germano. Downtown Weston is very well maintained—lined with neat, little shops, and filled with history. With several antique shops, restaurants, bistros, wineries and even a brewery, it should come as no surprise that Weston has been voted “Best Day Trip” for the past thirteen years.
The Holladay Distillery is open year-round and a great time to visit Weston is in the summer and fall when there are a lot of festivals, says Germano. The Distillery is perfect for all age groups and is family-friendly.
Guests 21 and over are welcome to sample two of the Distillery’s premium products at the finale of the tour. The most commonly asked questions from guests is “When can I get the bourbon?” To which the answer is, simply put, you have to be patient. The minimum-age process of bourbon is two years. At Holladay, their bourbon is aged for three-years. Good bourbon comes to those who wait.
-By Ettractions Digital Content Editor, PAULA MARINO
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