fbpx Skip to content

Night Tour tickets available now! Buy tickets now >> 

Why Bourbon?

Holladay Distillery began with bourbon. It’s time we returned to our roots.


Here at Holladay, we believe what our founders knew to be true: you don’t just taste bourbon, you experience it. You experience the history of the people who created it, of the place it comes from, and of the barrels where it builds its character.

BOOK A TOUR >>

The History of Holladay

It all started with the limestone spring. First discovered in what would become Weston, Missouri, by Lewis and Clark during their 1804 expedition, a pure limestone spring was a rarity whose potential was recognized by two enterprising young brothers by the names of Ben Holladay and Major David Holladay. After visiting the site, which was then a meat-packing house, the Holladay brothers divined an even greater purpose for that limestone spring: Bourbon.



Together, they founded this distillery in 1856. Ben Holladay went on to great fame and fortune as the “Stagecoach King,” running the stagecoach lines from Missouri to the West Coast that later became the Wells Fargo Express, and ultimately acquiring the Pony Express as well. He was a serial entrepreneur who owned saloons, hotels, and silver mines, and by 1864, he was the largest individual employer in the United States. Little did he know that his distillery would become the lasting legacy that carried the Holladay name well into the future.



The Holladay Distillery evolved as the decades passed, changing ownership and names a number of times before ultimately becoming known as McCormick Distilling Company in 1942. Acquired in 1993 by Ed Pechar, Mike Griesser, and a small group of private investors, the distillery has since grown in size and expanded its portfolio of products. In 2016, the distillery commemorated 160 years of rich history and paid homage to its founders by going back to its bourbon-making roots and bearing the proud name of Holladay Distillery, operated by McCormick Distilling Company.

1856
1858
1894
1900
1936
1942
1950
1957
1974
1993
2004
2016

1856

“Stagecoach King” Benjamin Holladay and his brother, Major David Holladay, establish the Blue Springs Distillery on the site of a limestone spring first discovered by Lewis and Clark during their expedition in 1804.

1858

The distillery is transferred from Benjamin Holladay to his brother, Major David Holladay, under the name of Platte County Hemp Manufacturing and Distilling Company.

1894

After the death of David Holladay in November 1893, the court allows his son-in-law, Thomas Gregory Barton, to continue the manufacturing of whiskey using the name Barton & Holladay.

1900

The distillery is sold to George H. Shawhan on July 18, 1900, after his distillery in Lone Jack, Missouri, is destroyed by fire. The name is changed to the Shawhan Distillery Company.

1936

Isadore Singer and his brother buy the distillery. The name is changed to the Old Weston Distilling Company.

1942

The distillery is renamed McCormick Distilling Company after the rights to the name and formula are purchased from the original McCormick Distilling Company in Waldron, Missouri.

1950

McCormick Distilling Company is purchased by Midwest Grain Products, a company owned by Cloud L. Cray of Atchison, Kansas. The company purchases the distillery primarily to store alcohol in the large empty warehouses due to the threat of impending war in Korea.

1957

A devastating fire nearly destroys the distillery building, the oldest building on the distillery site.

1974

The original site of the distillery is added to the National Register of Historic Places.

1993

Ed Pechar and Mike Griesser lead a small group of investors in the purchase of McCormick Distilling Company. Under their leadership, the company has doubled the number of employees and has expanded the McCormick family of brands to include such premium products as 360 Vodka, Tequila Rose, and Broker’s Gin.

2004

Mike Griesser passes away. In 2016, the newly renovated stillhouse is dedicated as the Michael S. Griesser Memorial Stillhouse in his memory.

2016

The distillery celebrates its 160 years of rich history by going back to its roots. It is once again known as the Holladay Distillery, operated by McCormick Distilling Company. It is distilling Real Missouri Bourbon on site again for the first time in 30 years. And for the first time in two decades, it is open again to the public for distillery tours and tastings.

THE MODERN DISTILLING TECHNIQUES MAY BE NEW,
BUT OUR 160-YEAR-OLD RECIPE REMAINS THE SAME.

What’s the difference between

Whiskey and Bourbon?

We could talk for days about what makes a true bourbon, but we’ll stick to the basics. All bourbon is considered whiskey, but not all whiskey earns the bourbon distinction. There are four essential characteristics that determine whether a whiskey can rightly be called a bourbon: the mash used for distilling, the aging process, the proof, and the location where the product is made.

  • Mash
  • Aging
  • Proof
  • Location

The spirit is distilled from a fermented grain mash including wheat, rye, barley, and corn. A bourbon mash must contain at least 51% corn, which gives the spirit its sweet character.

To be labeled as a straight bourbon, it must be aged a minimum of two years in a new, charred oak barrel. While whiskey is also aged in barrels, they do not need to be either new or oak.

Bourbon must be distilled to no more than 160 proof and enter the barrel at no more than 125 proof to begin the aging process. After aging, fresh limestone spring water can be introduced to bring the bourbon to a desirable proof.

While there are several types of fine whiskey made around the globe, true bourbon can only be made in America. Contrary to popular belief, bourbon can be made anywhere in America – not just Kentucky!

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.

Holladay Distillery does not share customer information (including e-mail addresses) unless it is necessary to provide you with Holladay Distillery products or services, or we are legally required to do so.

We restrict internal access to your information to those individuals who need it to provide you with services. Any third-party companies we must use to provide you with services are required to keep your information secure and confidential.

Holladay Distillery is happy to provide further details of our privacy policies. For more information, please contact us.

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.