By JACK WEATHERLY
David Rich is turning out corn liquor at his distillery in Canton.
He’s pounded the pavement of Madison and Hinds counties getting the word out about Rich Distilling Co., and getting its liquor in package stores.
It’s moving off the shelves nicely, he said.
McDade’s Wine and Spirits in Jackson’s Maywood Mart, for example, had sold nine bottles from a case of 12 in a couple of weeks, according to a sales clerk.
Corn liquor has become a novelty item in recent years, but Rich’s ultimate goal is turn out barrels of handcrafted bourbon.
Meantime, the 90-proof corn squeezin’s are providing cash flow till his 7,000-square-foot distillery that he built in Canton starts turning out rum before the end of this summer and bourbon around Christmastime 2017.
Rich started making corn liquor less than two months ago – turning out just three 300-gallon batches per week as he runs at about 30 percent capacity — and was the sole salesman and distributor for Madison County and some of Hinds.
Now he has signed a deal with a major distributor for statewide coverage.
The plant has been approved for the state and federal historic tax credits, which will cover 25 percent and 20 percent, respectively, of construction costs in coverting the building that was built in the late 19th century.
Meantime, he has begun Saturday tours of the distillery for those who may not familiar with what he calls the “magic and alchemy” of the process, which starts with Madison County corn.
Rich is on hand for each five-hour process required to make a batch of corn liquor, making adjustments on the kettles he designed and the copper distilling columns he built himself, which comes naturally to the mechanical engineering graduate of Ole Miss. “I could probably automate some of this,” but that would make it less of a hand-crafted undertaking, he said.
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