Grimes Whiskey Maker Uses Sweet Corn to Flavor His Spirit - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Grimes Whiskey Maker Uses Sweet Corn to Flavor His Spirit

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By Ron Marasco


Chris McAninch of Grimes says after years of research and experimenting, he's produced one of the best whiskeys in the world.

"We jumped off the deep-end and started making sweet corn whiskey because Grimes is known for its sweet corn, and it's done quite well," said McAninch. 

The start–up distillery is on track to bottle more than 10,000 pints of its special handcrafted whiskey next year alone.

"I kind of wanted to get in the wine business or the beer business, but I really didn't drink either, and so this was a fit," said McAninch.  "I knew a lot about the alcohol distillation process in a previous lifetime if you will."

160 proof white whiskey comes from a distillery in Cedar Rapids.  That's where Iowa corn is used to make the beginnings of McAninch's award winning 80 proof recipe.

"They (consumers) love it.  They absolutely love it," said McAninch.  "We actually tell you how to drink it right on the bottle, which is kind of unique."

McAninch filters and ages the whiskey on site where it sits for no less than two years before he bottles it.

"Quality takes time, and when people look at a little bottle, they wonder why it costs so much," said McAninch.  "It's mostly taxes, but it's a lot of love and care."

A lot of that love and care can be found in the bottling room.  McAninch fills his pint–sized bottles one at a time, and then corks and labels them before shipping them off to market.

"The wife and I, we live and breathe it," said McAninch.   "It's a passion, it absolutely is."

Stores like Hy–Vee, Fareway and Casey's General Store all carry McAninch's whiskey.  I was curious how he managed that.

"I asked," said a laughing McAninch.  "They love Iowa products, and Iowans love Iowa products, so it was much easier in that respect."

McAninch doesn't want to stop there.

"I'd like to see it all across the nation in time," he said.

McAninch says he sells his whiskey at more than 300 locations in Iowa.  Each bottle costs about 20 bucks.

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