Thanks to a new Iowa law, Mississippi River Distilling Co. now can offer a full compliment of adult beverages.
Under the legislation, the LeClaire distillery will be able to sell local wine and beer to patrons and plans, beginning at its monthly First Friday celebration on Aug. 2.
“The new law allows a distillery to also hold a winery and a brewery permit,” owner Garrett Burchett said. “That opens the door to wine and beer sales.”
Owner Ryan Burchett said that under the previous law, an Iowa establishment could be licensed only as one — a distillery, a winery or a brewery. Mississippi River Distilling now is licensed federally and by the state as both a distillery and winery.
The Iowa Legislature changed the law earlier this year to allow a distillery to also operate a winery and sell Iowa-made wines.
It was the second law change in three years to change rules impacting the industry. In July 2017, Iowa law changed to allow cocktail sales by the glass.
The distillery plans to offer four wines from its “friends at Wide River Winery” in LeClaire including a sweet white, dry white, dry red and Cody Road Bourbon barrel-aged red.
It also plans to source its beers locally.
“We plan to feature all the local breweries,” Garrett Burchett said. Mississippi River Distilling does not plan to make its own beer.
‘We have several (breweries) who are aging beers in our barrels, so we’d like to showcase that,” he said. The first beers on tap will be Doc’s Blone Ale from Green Tree Brewery in LeClaire and Anniversary Stout from Crawford Brew Works in Bettendorf. The stout is aged in Cody Road Bourbon barrels.
His brother said they also do not plan to get into wine production. “It’s a different process than what we do. We could produce it now if we wanted to (under the new law), but right now no…”
Ryan Burchett added the expanded offerings will open up opportunities when the distillery’s new event space is completed.
The company announced that it is investing more than $1 million in its storefront on Cody Road (U.S. Highway 67) to develop an event venue for receptions and parties.
Construction on the new facility is expected to begin soon. Twin Shores Construction, Bettendorf, is the contractor. The venue, between the distillery and neighbor Green Tree Brewery, is expected to open before the end of the year.
The distillery will begin beer and wine service Aug. 2 as it hosts its 100th First Friday celebration. The festivities will include free food and drink samples, door prizes and live music from The Blackstones Acoustic Trio.
A monthly celebration across downtown LeClaire, Mississippi River Distilling has thrown a First Friday party with free food and drink samples on the first Friday of every month for more than eight years.