Four years ago, Andy Rieger followed in his great-great-great-grandfather’s footsteps by reviving Kansas City’s J. Rieger & Co. brand of whiskey.
The distillery, which was forced to close during Prohibition, has been booming ever since. Its whiskey, gin, vodka and Caffè Amaro coffee liqueur is sold in 20 states, which puts J. Rieger & Co. among the top 10 percent of distilleries in the country.
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Now Rieger and his partner Ryan Maybee are working on spilling the distillery’s space at 2700 Guinotte Ave. in the East Bottoms into the historic Heim Brewery building next door.
When the expanded J. Rieger & Co. opens in spring 2019, it will feature tours, tastings, multiple bars and event spaces for meetings and parties. Until then, you can find Rieger pacing the construction site day and night, making sure his family legacy lives on.
“The distillery has been my life for the past four years,” he says, “so I don’t get away much.”
- Town Topic. Easy: Two eggs over medium, crispy bacon, hash browns and a side of toast.
- 18.21 Man Made products. I’m not exactly a ‘product guy,’ but I use the 18.21 brand hair products because they smell really good. You can find them locally at The Rockford barber shop in Waldo.
- HBO. I’m into a few series — “Game of Thrones,” “Westworld” and “Ballers.”
- Microsoft Excel. My background is in investment banking so to me, data is king. I have an internal file for the distillery that records every piece of data we could ever possibly need.
- The Negroni. My favorite cocktail is the classic Negroni. We actually designed our Midwestern Dry Gin to work specifically with this cocktail.
- Sparkling mineral water. On the non-alcoholic side, I drink a whole lot of Topo Chico.
- Wedding ring. My wife is my best friend and works with me at the distillery.
- Spotify. I spend a lot of time in front of my computer and I use music to tune everything out and focus. Lately I’ve been listening to the soundtrack from “The Greatest Showman.” If you’re judging me right now, it’s only because you’ve never listened to it before.
- Sweats. My Shawnee Mission East High School football sweatpants from 2004 are perfectly broken in and are my go-to for relaxing at home after a stressful work day.
- Walking. The only form of exercise I really get is pacing the distillery on work calls — I get a lot of steps in.