History reborn at Weston bourbon distillery with 19th century roots

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WESTON, Mo. -- There's something brewing in Platte County, and it could mean big bucks for the local economy. A distillery with roots that pre-date the Civil War will again produce bourbon, and that has business leaders proposing a toast.

A piece of distilling history is about to live again in Weston. McCormick Distilling and the celebrated Holladay Distillery are about to resume production of bourbon, using a popular bourbon recipe that dates back to 1856.

Distillery president Mick Harris says all new equipment has been installed, and other upgrades have been made to the original distilling building the Holladay brothers used in the mid-19th century. Bourbon hasn’t been made there since 1985.

Before the year's end, vats will be filled with sour mash, and small-batch bourbon will begin to cook.

“There's a real penchant toward locally-produced products. Everything that happens here is happening locally,” Harris explained.

Harris says McCormick Distilling will need to hire people to conduct tours, and to help produce the spirits.

“We've been part of Weston for 160 years and we're just becoming a larger part,” Harris said.

That sounds promising to business leaders in a town that's home to fewer than two thousand people.

Pat Egan keeps this framed antique postcard from the McCormick Distillery by his desk. He's the president of the local chamber of commerce, and compares the distillery potential to the boost Weston has received from its winery and tobacco producers.

“We just know the same McCormick has been around so long, and so closely tied to Weston, we feel this could open up an entire new tourist area that people haven't visited in the past,” Egan said.

The local chamber also anticipates an uptick in foot traffic. Pat Egan also told FOX 4 News that once distillery tours resume, he believes this attraction could double the number of visitors this area sees annually.

Harris tells FOX 4 News the new bourbon won't be on the market for another three to four years, while the product ages. In the meantime, McCormick Distilling will offer corn whiskey and moonshine.