LeClaire Distiller Talks Law Change with Governor - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

LeClaire Distiller Talks Law Change with Governor


It's been three years since Mississippi River Distilling Company opened on LeClaire's riverfront. And as the company continues to grow, owners say laws need to change so growth at their business, and in the QCA, can continue. So they met with Iowa's Governor Friday, taking the first step toward making that happen.

Right now, Iowa law limits you to buying just two bottles at this distillery per day. Owners want to change that, saying more sales will be good not only for them and their customers, but the entire state as well, in terms of tax revenue, tourism and jobs.

Visitors to the distillery can learn its history, see how products are made on daily tour and even sample some spirits offered. But owner Ryan Burchett says current law cuts the experience short. "We want to make it more of a destination. And if you could sit down, have a cocktail while you listen to a band play or something like that, we think it would open up a lot of doors to small distilleries like us."

Burchett and his brother Garrett are pushing for a change that would let them sell not only cases of spirits, but also bourbon, whiskey and vodka by the glass. Something tourists we talked to support. Visitor Jeff Roe tells us, "I'm from the Wisconsin area, so you see a lot of microbrews. And you want to sit down, just like you're saying, you want to try 'em. You want to try multiple ones and see how they mix. And I would imagine many people would feel that way."

That's what the Burchett brothers are hoping for, working to convince other distillers and Governor Terry Branstad. He says, "I'm certainly interested in things that we can do to promote tourism. The other thing is they get the corn here locally, so they're doing business with local farmers and they're employing people and obviously, the tourism has great potential."

Burchett says so does the bottom line. "The state tax on liquor is a 50 percent markup on the wholesale price, so literally every dollar of profit a distillery makes, the state of Iowa gets a dollar as well out of that pie."


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