J. Rieger & Co. exploring tunnel in distillery they think predates prohibition

Posted at 1:06 PM, Sep 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-29 18:28:04-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The people at J. Rieger & Co. in the East Bottoms have wanted to peek behind the bricks sealing off what looked like some sort of passageway for years. 

“So we finally just got the nerves to actually do it!” said Andy Rieger.

Behind those bricks, they found a tunnel of sorts, lots of dirt, and mystery. 

“We don’t even know what the floor totally looks like,” he said. “But I’m standing on a couple stairs so obviously people used to go in and out throughout the tunnel.” 

Rieger, along with Ryan Maybee, revived the J. Rieger & Co. brand a few years ago. They said his family’s historic Kansas City distillery in the West Bottoms closed with prohibition.

Learn more about the history of J. Rieger & Co.

The new distillery is located in the East Bottoms. They believe this tunnel is decades old and could be from before prohibition. 

“What for? We assume for transporting beer being that we’re on old brewery grounds,” said Rieger. “But being able to get to the end of it, who knows what we’ll really find.” 

They told us a construction crew came to break through and look at the structure of the tunnel. Since then, they have been removing lots of dirt in their spare time and waiting to see if anything is revealed. 

“Being able to see something that existed at the same time period as when J. Rieger & Co. got its start is pretty neat to see,” he said. 

The company’s social media posts about the tunnel got a big response. They promise to keep us posted on what they find!