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The Rock Island Paper ran an article this morning…

Distillery to open in LeClaire

Work began Monday on a distillery in downtown LeClaire that will produce spirits made from locally grown grain.

The MississippiRiver Distilling Company is expected to open later this year along the banks of the Mississippi River in LeClaire, the first whiskey distillery in the area since prohibition, according to a Quad-Cities Chambers of Commerce news release. Daily tours will let people watch the production of vodka, gin and bourbon whiskey from the milling of the grain to the fermentation, distillation, aging and bottling.

“We are so excited about the potential for our company in LeClaire,” company partner Garrett Burchett said in the release. “The town fits our company’simage, and the proximity to Interstate 80 gives us a steady stream of potential tourists to visit our facility. The community has been a greatpartner in bringing this dream to reality.”

Mississippi River Distilling Company plans to be the first new distillery to open in Iowa since a state law that took effect July 1 allowed micro-distilleries to offer limited retail sales and tastings on the premises.

Distillery officials have ordered a 1,000-liter handmade German pot -till that will be thefocal point of the building. The copper and stainless steel pot takes craftsmen up to six months to fabricate. It will be the only one of its kind in the Midwest.

The steam-heated still gives producers the flexibility to create vodka,gin, whiskey and other spirits.

The distillery building also will house a retail area and tasting room. Tours will end in the tasting room, which will have a large glass window looking into the production area, and another looking over the Mississippi River, according to the release.

This building is the first of four to be built to extend LeClaire’s downtown retail area to the north and develop ablock of land empty for several years. The distillery will complement existing businesses and create excitement for further economic development, Deb Mulvania, president of the LeClaire Chamber of Commerce, said in the release.

The project is the result of the cooperative effort of many groups. Mississippi River Distilling worked closely with the city of LeClaire, First Central State Bank in LeClaire, New Ventures Initiative in Davenport and the IowaDepartment of Economic Development to develop and fund the project.

The New Ventures Center is available to businesses through the Iowa and Illinois Quad-Cities Chambers of Commerce, said Tara Barney, president/CEO of the Davenport-based chamber. The center’s staff worked with Mr. Burchett “for months on their business plan, helping them tweak it and helping them identify opportunities for state funding,” Ms. Barney said. Results of funding applications have not yet been received, she said.

The distillery plans have “worked out very nicely,” she said. “(We’re) always looking for ways to make our agricultural assets more impactful. This is just a delightful project.”

“We can’t say enough about the community support we’ve receivedthroughout this process,” Mr. Burchett said in the release. “It really strengthens our connection to the local community to have such wonderful support fromLeClaire, the greater Quad Cities region and the State of Iowa.”

For more information, visit http://www.missriverdistilling.com.

Staff writer Laura Anderson contributed to this report.

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