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Mad Buffalo Distillery is throwing a coming out party for its first product, the Thunderbeast STORM moonshine.
The traditional whiskey moonshine is distilled at Shawnee Bend Farms in Union, Mo., a family farm owned and operated by former environmental attorney Chris Burnette and his wife Elise. The Thunderbeast line is unique in that it’s made entirely from corn grown on Mad Buffalo’s farm.
Chris takes the "grain to glass" concept employed by other craft distilleries to another level. Where most grain to glass operations source their ingredients within 50 miles of their distillery, Burnette grows his grains himself. He coined his method “ground to glass,” as all of his ingredients are grown on his own 200-acre farm. Everything else he needs is sourced within the area—the labels are printed in St. Louis, the bottles made in Park Hills, and the barrels made in Cuba, Mo
“We grow everything right here,” he says. “It’s cheaper, and we also get to control how the corn is grown. We grow everything on site—we grind it, sift it, mash it. From start to finish, I have it right here in the building.”
You could say that the craft runs in the family, as both Chris and Elise can trace their lines back to moonshine. Almost every generation of the Burnette family distilled, with Chris’s great uncle even serving time for bootlegging. Scattered throughout Elise’s family history are a few distillers and one notable bootlegger. The Mad Buffalo name is an homage to her mother, an outspoken advocate for Native American rights. Thunderbeast, a traditional slang word for buffalo, plays off of the company’s theme.
Thunderbeast will debut at the Mad Moonshine Party on Friday, January 25. The party will be held at Lindenwood Pub (138 N. Kingshighway in St. Charles) as a nod to the company’s ties to Lindenwood University and St. Charles. After the party, look for the first batch of Thunderbeast on the shelves at the various Wine and Cheese Place and Randall’s Wines & Spirits locations.
Burnette plans to start barreling a bourbon in the spring, with a release expected sometime in the fall. Also in the works are a gin, an aged corn whiskey and an Appalachian whiskey (a blend of bourbon and corn whiskey).