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Chew Diligence: J. Rieger & Co.'s new distillery now open to public

Posted: 8:09 AM, Jul 12, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-12 09:13:18-04
j rieger & co distillery spirits.jpg

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Just ahead of the grand opening of J. Rieger & Co.’s new home in the East Bottoms of Kansas City, Missouri, co-founders Andy Rieger and Ryan Maybee joined Chew Diligence hosts Lindsay Shively and Jill Silva in the podcast studio to talk about what’s in store for the distillery.

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Co-founder Ryan Maybee talked about what people will see when they come to the new location:

"The first thing you're going to see really is the production floor. It's front and center, right in the middle of the building, and it's the heart and soul of the whole operation," Maybee said. "On the right, there's about a 4,000-square-foot, museum-quality historic exhibit that tells the story of the history of our brand, the history of the Heim family and that building and Electric Park, the northeast industrial district and then also prohibition."

From there, guests will get to watch a 10-minute long animated video about the resurrection of J. Rieger & Co. and see how the spirits are made on the production floor.

Of course, the tour ends with a tasting.

In addition to historical elements, the new space focuses on entertainment — complete with a jazz club, bars on each level and even a shiny silver slide for adults.

"We couldn't do Ferris wheel or a roller-coaster, so we did a slide to start," Maybee said, with Co-founder Andy Rieger jokingly hinting that more along those lines could be in the future.

The distillery will be open all day, offering coffee and breakfast food in the mornings, transitioning into harder beverages and shared plates in the evening. There's even talk of popcorn seasoned with Joe's Kansas City french fry seasoning.

The fact that the East Bottoms is still developing doesn't scare Rieger and Maybee. They said they're confident the people will come.

"When you're trying to do something in a neighborhood that people aren't overly familiar with, you have a lot of people that want to cast doubt on it — regardless of what it is. You could build a Shake Shack down there. If it was the first one in the city, people would be like 'Oh, what a terrible location, but you know what, I'm still going to go.' And so people can get past that pretty quickly," Rieger said.

The East Bottoms location is scheduled to open to the public Friday, July 12 at 3 p.m.

No drinks on the slide!

On this week's #FirstTheFood:

Listen to more Chew Diligence here.