As new distilleries open, one of oldest renovates in Weston, Mo.

WESTON, Mo. - America's thirst for liquor doesn't look like it's drying up anytime soon.

In just the past decade, the number of distilleries in the U.S. has grown from 70 to 623.

Another 100 or so are expected to open next year. 

But one of the oldest distilleries in America just underwent a multimillion dollar upgrade, and it's only about 45 minutes north of Kansas City.

McCormick Distilling in Weston, Mo., is one of the oldest distilleries in America and now it's also one of the most modern.

"We've just completed a $10,000,000 renovation of our facilities here in Weston," said Mick Harris, President of McCormick Distilling.

McCormick has new bottling lines for vodka, gin, whiskey, rum, tequila and liqueurs. It still does things the old fashioned way too, by hand.

"There's been a distillery on this site for over 150 years," Harris said

At one time, the property was recognized as the oldest distillery in the U.S. still operating at its original location.

"There's a great deal of confusion out there about just exactly who did what and how prohibition intervenes in anybody's history as a 'continuously operating.'  But, we are listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the oldest continuously operating distillery west of the Mississippi," Harris said.

The distillery started inside a cave on the property in 1856 by the stagecoach king Ben Holladay who helped expand the Pony Express.

"Because of the limestone spring on the property it was perfect for producing Bourbon and they outfitted wagon trains heading west to San Francisco," said Harris.

The distillery was allowed to stay open during prohibition to make alcohol for medicinal purposes. 

Today, McCormick Distilling has 172 employees who produce about 4,000,000 cases of liquor each year.

"Our history has always been taste, quality, and value and that's where we're going to go," Harris said.
The distillery's renovation has reduced its carbon footprint and made it more environmental friendly by using recycled glass and cardboard.

McCormick Distilling plans to launch its Triple Crown Blended Whiskey nationwide next year.  You can sample its products at the McCormick Country Store in downtown Weston. 
 

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