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Weston distillery: Tour 160 years of bourbon production

It’s been 20 years since the Holladay Distillery in Weston offered tours to the general public, but they’re back again, and the tour doesn’t disappoint.

Owned by McCormick Distilling Co., the Holladay Distillery sits on a picturesque location in rural Weston with rolling hills and babbling brooks fed by limestone springs that are perfect for making bourbon. The site has been distilling spirits since 1856, when stagecoach king Ben Holladay started producing bourbon with a recipe he put together five years earlier in Kentucky. It’s the same recipe McCormick is using today to once again produce bourbon on the site after a 30-year hiatus.

That tradition is evident everywhere on the tour, which starts at an ancient cave that originally was used to age the barrels of Holladay Whiskey. Next stop is a hand-dug well over a limestone spring that is 15 feet wide and 35 feet deep, providing the 2,000 gallons of water necessary for each batch of whiskey the facility produces.

Then it’s on to the whiskey distillery itself, housed in the original 1856 stone structure, which was retrofitted with all the latest distilling technology. Corn, rye and malted barley are cooked and fermented in giant vats where guests are encouraged to taste the mash. It’s filtered and pumped into a 50-foot-tall still, which produces unaged white whiskey. It’s then transferred to charred oak barrels produced in Lebanon, Mo., which are used to age the whiskey, mellowing it and giving it the distinctive brown bourbon color.

The barrels then proceed to a massive barrelhouse, which can hold 12,000 barrels. The 55-gallon barrels are filled with about 50 gallons of whiskey, allowing room for expansion and contraction as the seasons go from warm to cold. Holladay whiskey will be aged for at least three years. Over time, some whiskey will evaporate from the barrels, which is called the Angel’s Cut. After seven years, a barrel of whiskey will lose 48 percent of its volume, which is why older whiskey is more expensive.

The aging process is why McCormick won’t be able to sell any Holladay Bourbon for at least three years, having filled the first barrel in March.

McCormick President Mick Harris said he couldn’t be more excited to be producing bourbon again and offering tours.

“This is our heritage. In 1856, we started making bourbon here,” Harris said. “We took a 30-year break for all the wrong reasons. We wish we hadn’t done that, but we’re back now. We made award-winning bourbon once upon a time, and we still have samples. We’re using the same water. There is the same flora and fauna in this area. It will be aging under the same conditions. We’re using the same Missouri white oak barrels burned at the same level as before. We’re making some of the finest-quality bourbon in the world right here in Missouri. It’s all about quality for us.”

From Kansas City Business Journal

Original story here.

Categorized: News

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Holladay Distillery takes the protection and proper use of your personal information seriously. We respect your privacy and take great care to safeguard information in our possession. Your preferences for use of your information are our highest priority.


McCormick Distilling Co., Inc. is a distilled spirits company located in the United States, doing business in the domestic and certain foreign markets. We comply with federal, state, and foreign laws regarding labor practices wherever we operate.

The California Transparency in Supply Chains Act of 2010 (SB 657) (“Act”) seeks the elimination of slavery and human trafficking from product supply chains and requires that large companies who do business in California disclose their efforts toward the elimination of slavery and human trafficking. The information below relates to our efforts to comply with the Act.

1.) The vast majority of our suppliers are located in North America, principally in the United States, and in the European Union. To the best of our knowledge and belief, no supplier to our company, whether located within or without the United States, has ever been accused of engaging in forced labor or human trafficking.

2.) We reserve the right to audit our suppliers’ operations to ensure compliance with the Act. Currently, audits are not regularly performed by the company or an independent third party.

3.) Our purchase orders and supplier contracts will now contain an express representation that each supplier will comply fully with all applicable laws prohibiting human trafficking and slavery and that any violation of such laws is cause for immediate termination of our contracts and orders. We will terminate our contract with any supplier found to be in violation with our policy on human trafficking and slavery.

4.) To further our efforts to eradicate human trafficking and slavery from our supply chain, we have now asked suppliers to return a signed statement to us acknowledging that they support the elimination of forced labor and human trafficking.

5.) Our Employee Code of Conduct requires that company personnel try to ensure we work only with reputable suppliers. Employees annually affirm their compliance with our Employee Code of Conduct, but we have no formal training related to the issue.

Our Commitment
The United Kingdom Modern Slavery Act 2015 and the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act of 2010 require companies to disclose their efforts to mitigate the risk of modern slavery and human trafficking in their supply chain. Modern slavery and human trafficking are the use of forced, compulsory or trafficked labor or anyone held in slavery or servitude. As a responsible corporate citizen, McCormick Distilling Co., Inc. is committed to actions that will mitigate the risk of modern slavery in our business. In addition, we expect our vendors, suppliers, and contractors to have the same commitment.

Our Controls
McCormick Distilling Co., Inc. is committed to implementing and enforcing controls to prevent modern slavery in our business and in our supply chain. We have regular contact with our vendors, suppliers and contractors. Our contracts with vendors, suppliers and contractors require compliance with all applicable laws. If necessary, we will engage with third parties to assist us in evaluating our supply chain. Any concerns relating to noncompliance with this statement are investigated promptly and appropriate actions will be taken based on the findings of the investigation.

Our Training
We support our commitment and controls by providing training to our employees. The training is designed to create awareness around the problem of modern slavery and to help employees identify the sign of modern slavery in our supply chain.