With craft distillers and small houses for spirits becoming more and more common these days, the emphasis has been put on a spirit’s quality. Sure, this was true before the rise of craft distillers, but creating a quality product is more crucial today because of the many options consumers have.

The increase in craft distillers means excellent local spirits around popping up everywhere. Distillers from across the country are making excellent products. While you might not think of Missouri as a hotspot for whiskey, J. Rieger & Co. has stepped forward with an amazing whiskey of their own.

I had the opportunity to sample the distillery’s Kansas City Whiskey and it has quickly become one of my favorites. This spirit delivers an extremely well-balanced palate, and is smooth from start to finish. Subtle notes of spice add to the well-rounded nature of Kansas City Whiskey, as do the brief hints of sweetness.

Balance is such a key part of a successful whiskey these days. This is particularly true for a whiskey that comprises a blend of corn, malt, and straight rye whiskies. While Kansas City Whiskey performs well as part of a cocktail, I must say it is best up or neat. The presentation is perfect for sampling by itself, and really doesn’t need any other ingredients to influence the palate.

As I mentioned above, Kansas City Whiskey possesses excellent balance. In an exclusive interview with We Write Things, Andy Rieger, who is a co-founder of J. Rieger & Co, spoke about how importance balance is in the whiskey, as well as what went into finding said balance.

“Our Kansas City Whiskey isn’t as simple as blending together a Sherry with a Whiskey. In order to achieve perfect balance, several whiskies had to be utilized in order to ensure the final product was whiskey forward, but Sherry centric. The fact that the final product utilizes only a trace amount of the Sherry, but that it is still very noticeable on the nose and pallet, was only achievable through carefully balancing the multiple whiskies used in the blend,” Rieger said.

Over the course of a year, important milestones come and go for companies. J. Rieger & Co. have been working to diversify their portfolio of spirits, outside of their magnificent Kansas City Whiskey. It has become more common for distilleries to not box themselves into a corner and say, we only serve one type of spirit. Most distilleries offer several different types.

J. Rieger & Co. experienced a crucial year during these past eleven and a half months or so. At the end of 2015, the company launched a brand new gin (Midwestern Dry Gin). This product has been key for them all the way through this year. The distillery spoke about what was most memorable about this past year.

“2016 for us was really all about gin. This year it really started to take off as consumers caught onto the fact that our gin is special because it’s a perfectly balanced, traditional London dry style being produced in America. Some of the most notable accolades for our gin this year were being named one of the best products of the year by GQ and being in the international top 10 for ‘Best New Spirit or Cocktail Ingredient’ at Tales of the Cocktail,” Rieger said.

J. Rieger & Co. enjoyed a year of growth in 2016, and they are looking to continue that well into next year. The distillery spoke about what they are looking to achieve in 2017, as well as what the state of the whiskey industry in Missouri currently is.

“In 2017 we will be focusing on growing market share in our current markets as well as strategically expanding into a few additional states,” Rieger said. “It has a long way to go. In Missouri, we don’t have a dominate player on the whiskey side. That is the void we are trying to fill.”

Folks who are looking to pick-up a gift for those who enjoy fine spirits should look no further than J. Rieger & Co.’s gift pack. This comes with a 750-ml bottle of Kansas City Whiskey, a 750-ml bottle of the distillery’s recently released Midwestern Dry Gin as well as a 750-ml bottle of its Premium Vodka. The package retails for $85 and is available now. Stick around here at We Write Things for more on spirits.

About Steve Ruygrok

Gaming, Spirits, and Craft Beer enthusiast. If you say you don't like beer, then you just haven't had the right type yet. Great spirits keep away the bad ones. Video games are kind of amazing, just do it...or something like that. Contact me at weplaythingssteve@gmail.com

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