By Kevin Collison
The West Bottoms’ massive old industrial buildings are an inexpensive haven for hundreds of downtown creatives living their dream and Alex Lindsey plans to add whiskey to the mix soon.
He’s working on opening his West Bottoms Whiskeys in what looks like a garage bay at 1321 W. 13th St. A century ago, it was the entrance for freight trains delivering parts to the tractor factory that occupied the late 19th Century building.
That brawny, industrial-age heritage fits in nicely with Lindsey’s vision for his whiskeys and the mascot he’s created to brand them, “Murdock.”
“I love the West Bottoms,” he said. “Our branding fits with the hard-working people who used to be here. It’s a quirky place.”
Lindsey’s game plan, at least for the first few years, is to distill his own seasonal whiskey’s in small batches and to blend larger quantities of what he’s calling Kansas City Whiskey using whiskey sourced from bulk spirit producers.
“Our concept is to be a distillery in the West Bottoms focusing just on whiskey, we think that’s a differentiating factor for us. A lot of distillers do vodka and gin.
“It’s a boot strap operation.”
He credited J. Rieger & Co., the big homegrown Kansas City distiller that’s going through some expansion of its own, which helping him on his hard spirits journey.
The described his Kansas City Whiskey as “pre-Prohibition style,” meaning no more than 2 1/2 percent of its ingredients will be fortified wines such as sherry or port.
As for his own home-made whiskeys, Lindsey has a 10-gallon, copper still to distill his seasonal releases. It’s capable of producing about one gallon of whiskey per month, so don’t expect the market to be flooded anytime soon.
“I’m hoping for my first batch in April 2019,” he said.
Right now, West Bottom Whiskeys is applying for the federal permits required to open and he hopes that process is done by December.
Throughout the winter, Lindsey is planning to hold pre-release parties to introduce his product to people in the industry including bartenders.
If all goes well, his place should be open to the public by early spring. In addition to his whiskey, Lindsey is planning to serve whiskey cocktails and West Bottoms Whiskey merchandise.
He wants to be open Thursdays through Sundays and take advantage of all the foot traffic drawn by his neighborhood’s abundant antique and flea market businesses.
“My five-year plan is to have a larger place for full-scale production where the people can view and taste our whiskeys,” he said.
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