Iowa Becomes First State Where A Craft Whiskey Maker Outsells The Big Guys

By Nino Kilgore-Marchetti / November 24, 2020

Cedar Ridge is an American whiskey distillery out of Iowa which we visited sometime back, taking note at the time of how impressive of an operation it was alongside of the quality whiskeys they produce. Their flagship bourbon is as local as it can get, for example, being made from 74% family-farmed corn and winning numerous awards over the years. Iowans have apparently taken a liking to it also, with it recently be announced this whiskey, based on data from the state’s alcohol control division, is the #1 selling bourbon there.

The Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division, according to information put forth by Cedar Ridge, recently “posted the rolling twelve-month sales revenue by category and Cedar Ridge Iowa Straight Bourbon Whiskey is now the #1 selling 750 ml. bourbon in Iowa.” To this end it has “surpassed mass-produced Maker’s Mark & Jim Beam as [the] top seller” and, perhaps more interestingly, is said to be “the first craft distiller in the country to produce the #1 selling bourbon in any state.”

Cedar ridge aging warehouse

Inside a Cedar ridge aging warehouse (image copyright The Whiskey Wash)

“When we started Cedar Ridge, we had no idea we would ever become #1 in the state in the huge category of bourbon,” said Cedar Ridge CEO & Founder Jeff Quint in a prepared statement. “That said, we’re proud and elated to get there. It’s important to us that we be relevant and successful on our home field, first and foremost. Iowans should be exporting bourbon, not importing it!”

“Iowans have been in our corner ever since we first opened our doors back in 2005,” added Head Distiller Murphy Quint. “Without their support, we wouldn’t even be in business, let alone the #1 selling bourbon in the state.”

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Cedar Ridge, playing the role of hometown favorite, has tried for many years to get Iowans to recognize the value of drinking local whiskey produced from local corn. “Iowa produces more corn than any state in the country, and most distilled spirits are made from corn,” noted Jeff Quint. “Yet, before Cedar Ridge, we Iowans were importing 100% of the $350 million in distilled spirits we consume each year. We were selling $4 worth of corn to other states and then buying back $40 worth of spirits made from our own corn.”

For those that don’t know of Cedar Ridge, it was founded back in 2005 as the first licensed distillery in the state of Iowa since Prohibition. The Quints come from a long family tradition of Iowa farmers and distillers, including Jeff’s father and the several generations before him, who produced locally made wines and brandies. Cedar Ridge produces wines from its own estate-grown grapes and makes its spirits in four custom- engineered German pot stills.


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