Show MO(re) Folk: Missouri Distillers
We at MO Folk Arts are using the Show Me Folk blog, in these unusual times, to shine a bit more light on the state’s folk and traditional artists who make a living at their craft. We plan to feature artists and culture keepers who have lost gigs or experienced slowdowns due to the world’s collective efforts to “flatten the curve.” We are often reminded that folk arts and folklife are not static, but dynamic and innovative. Traditional bearers prove that time and again, especially in adversity.
With these posts, we hope our readers find their way to visit the websites and social media of featured artists. Perhaps, readers will be moved to make a purchase, recommend the artist to others, or share a positive review.
Thanks for turning your attention to Show MO(re) Folk.
[Look for hyperlinks below that take you to videos, websites, and social media profiles.]
Missouri Distilleries Shift Production for the Greater Good
Anyone who follows the news during this pandemic recognizes the uncanny levels of creativity that come from all kinds of businesses. Dine-in restaurants shift gears to curbside pickup. Teachers of all stripes deliver lessons via video from one home to another. Healthcare workers hide their superhero capes under protective gear.
The stories abound as people address problems with creative solutions. In one example, distilleries–producers of alcoholic spirits–across the country have slowed production of libations. By tweaking age-old recipes, distillers, including those in Missouri, have taken up the challenge to address a crucial demand for hand sanitizer.
Kansas City’s J. Rieger & Co., for instance, made the news this week, stopping traffic as cars lined up in “the East Bottoms” for bottles of hand sanitizer. Switchgrass Spirits in Wellston, DogMaster Distillery in Columbia, and Woodsmen Distillery in Higbee are also turning out batches of hand sanitizer for the greater good. The list continues to grow.
[During 2019’s survey of traditions and artists in Jackson County, visiting folklorist Thomas Grant Richardson found the opportunity to visit with Andy Rieger, a founding partner in reviving his family’s distillery, which was dormant for 90 years due to Prohibition.]
*As of Friday, March 20, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the FDA relaxed rules on enforcement, and WHO has provided a recipe for hand rubs aka sanitizers.
**For more about the folklore and history of distilling, check out Karl Raitz’s 2020 book Making Bourbon: A Geographical History of Distilling in 19th Century Kentucky.
Published March 23, 2020