Cityscape

Now open in East Bottoms: J. Rieger’s distillery expansion — and its 40-foot slide

J. Rieger distillery in KC’s East Bottoms is planning a July 12 opening

At the heart of the 60,000-square-foot complex, located at 2700 Guinotte Ave. in the historic Electric Park district, is the glass-enclosed distillery. Customers can hang out in the second floor Monogram Lounge as they take in the distilling process.
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At the heart of the 60,000-square-foot complex, located at 2700 Guinotte Ave. in the historic Electric Park district, is the glass-enclosed distillery. Customers can hang out in the second floor Monogram Lounge as they take in the distilling process.

After weeks of buzz and buildup, the J. Rieger & Co.’s East Bottoms distillery expansion opened to the public Friday.

The expansion project, at 2700 Guinotte Ave. in the historic Electric Park district of the East Bottoms, has been in development for two-and-a-half years.

“We’re excited to be open and have a great crowd so far,” said Joe Hines, general manager.

In early June, weeks before Friday’s debut, Thrillist put the distillery on its short list of the “Best New Attractions in America in 2019.” The website — which covers food, drink, travel and entertainment — said it “scoured the country for the latest and greatest attractions we’re most curious about: the restaurants, hotels, parks, museums and entertainment we’d hop on a plane to check out this summer.”

The distillery expansion includes three separate bar areas, a historical exhibit, event spaces, a retail shop selling J. Rieger products and a 40-foot slide to take customers from the second floor to the first — or they can use the more traditional stairs or elevator.

The 60,000-square-foot operation includes six stills, five 2,500-gallon fermenters and a glass-enclosed distillery — so customers can see the process. There will be tours and tastings available to visitors.

Jeff Dougherty of Liberty was first in line before the 3 p.m. opening with nearly two dozen customers behind him.

“I figured there would be more people in front of me so I got an early start,” he said. “The history behind it and the grand opening. It is just exciting.”

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