S.D. Strong Distilling

When I tried Rusty Horse Tavern in Parkville for the first time, I saw this distillery’s vodka featured in one of the cocktails. I’d heard of the distillery located in the caves, and I was pretty excited about the local aspect of it all.

Located at the caves under Park University at Pillar 136, the renovated corporate space has a simplistic and cozy feel. Lisa and Steve Strong were kind enough to give me a sneak peak at their unique space. It really embraces the cave aesthetic with a great bar for tasting and entertaining.

The 200 gallon still is from an artisan in main sits in front of the iconic handlebar mustachioed man in the small space. Steve started at home making vodkas and moonshines, and S.D. Strong Vodka was put on the market in 2013 after starting the business in 2012.

The week my sister and I toured the space, Steve had just gotten a gin basket to start making gin, where he plans to add botanicals to the distilled gin for a cleaner, whiter spirit, and can do individual botanicals at a time to add flavor depth. 

I’m especially looking forward to the whiskey that will eventually come out of this distillery. Steve currently has two barrels of whiskey, the first rye was barreled in May of 2013 and despite the grain flavor that is still present, is pretty spectacular. Having only previous experience with vodka, Steve was unsure of how the whiskey would turn out. Pleased with the first barrel, he’s started a second barrel and will continue to monitor and hopefully put out some S. D. Strong Rye within the next few years. 

The vodka made at this distillery is clear, light, and clean, without any real bitterness or harshness. Having grown up in Parkville, I find the idea of a distillery in the caves really perfect for this quaint Missouri town just north of the river. Once the space is open for events and tours, make sure to head out there and let Steve and Lisa give you the run down with their knowledge and friendliness.


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