Ok Randy or Steve….we need many many bottles of this to test out
What else are you going to do with all that corn?
Because Iowa is the nation's top corn-producing state it should, in turn, produce bourbon, thought Jeff Quint, founder of Cedar Ridge Distillery, when he first began distilling vodka in 2004. That's because bourbon, by definition, is a whiskey made of a grain mixture that is at least 51 percent corn.
Despite the apparent logic of that notion, there wasn't a single bourbon producer in the state.
"It seemed odd to me that we're in the heart of corn country, the best corn-growing region in the country, and nobody was using that corn to produce bourbon," he said.
And so he decided to do so himself.
His first batch of bourbon, made of a mash that was more than 70 percent corn, went into new, charred oak quarter barrels from a Minnesota barrel mill in 2008. The distillery bottled it last summer, with each bottle hand-marked with the barrel and bottle number.
Inside the bottle is an 80-proof spirit that Quint aimed to be in line with, rather than challenging, a premium mass-produced bourbon. That's unlike some craft distilleries that aim to put a twist on traditional spirits.
"We want it to be close to a mainstream bourbon," he said. "When people taste it, we don't want them questioning what they're tasting. We just want them to think to themselves, 'This is a good, solid bourbon.'"
And largely, Quint's efforts are successful. The bourbon is a smooth, sweet amber spirit, with a melange of charred oak and vanilla notes. It falls short, like many, if not most, young whiskeys, in that it lacks a complexity, or depth of flavor, that develops from more time in the barrel.
Because sales have been brisk, the distillery plans to rapidly expand its bourbon output. It now ages its bourbon in full-size, Missouri-produced barrels and aims to up its output from 3,000 cases to 4,800 cases a year.