Get your first look at the J. Rieger distillery in KC’s East Bottoms as it nears opening

J. Rieger & Co.’s East Bottoms expansion is taking shape for a mid-July opening, but we got a sneak peek.

A July 12 opening is planned for the expanded distillery, at 2700 Guinotte Ave., in the historic Electric Park district. Thrillist has already put it on its short list of the “Best New Attractions in America in 2019.”

At the heart of the 60,000-square-foot complex is the glass-enclosed distillery. Customers can hang out in the second floor Monogram Lounge as they take in the distilling process.

Here are some highlights from our visit:

A larger, custom Vendome copper still for increased gin capacity was recently delivered. J. Rieger’s original gin still — dubbed the “wee” — will now be used for trials and small batch runs. Daily production is expected to increase fivefold.

Along with the Monogram Lounge on the top floor, there will be the underground cocktail bar called the “Hey Hey! Hey! Club.” It is described as “dark and swanky,” and it will include a fireplace, elegant lounge furniture and live jazz on some nights.

An ice cutting room will produce 200 pounds a day for drinks.

KC Bier Co. is developing an exclusive beer, a traditional German-style Export Helles, called Heim Bier. The distillery is located in the former Heim Brewery bottling house.

Jacob’s Barrel Dining Room will be a private dining area seating 16 people and tucked away behind barrel racks.

A 3,000-square-foot historical exhibit will showcase J. Rieger & Co. history and Kansas City history.

And a 40-foot slide will take customers from the Monogram Lounge to the first floor — just because the owners thought it would be fun.

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