you are using and the climate and storage of your barrels. With a small batch producer like us, you have limited capacity and limited storage, and you’re wondering what the barrels up here and down here are doing,” Damian says, gesturing to the height of barrels on the racks. “It’s highly scrutinized.” However, all those differences are what makes craft, well, craft. Patrick shares, “A little bit of variance is actually pretty good. It shows that we are craft. We’re not Jim Bean; we’re not Jack Daniels.” Their craft spirits have not only found popularity because of their craftsmanship, but also because of their visibility within their event space. In the beginning, their goal was to solely create aged spirits, but they soon discovered that having a space for business meetings, parties, and receptions was very profitable as well. Damian and his siblings knew they had to do something with the large area that was left vacant at their location. Having an event space really brought something unique to the area. “The event space is a large portion of our business,” explains Damian. “It helped drive awareness and added to the distillery with booking events here. Once we started putting that out there with advertising, people wanted to come out here.” “The event space has definitely been a good anchor to the facility because you have a captured audience when they are here for an event. Sometimes we have to curb production because of an event, however,” continues Patrick. This is when that second production shift comes in handy: “We have a second shift so we can run the 500 gallon still twice a day. It’s useful to have those two shifts.” Another part of their profitability was their drive for change with distillery focused legislation. Early on they learned they could not do tastings on their tours or sell bottles from their facility. This was not only a shocking revelation, but it was also a conduit for change in Kansas, propelled by the Garcia family. Patrick explains, “We hired a lobbyist. There were a lot of people that didn’t want us to have tastings and to sell from our facility.” After much work with the legislators, Kansas distillers can now offer two-ounce tastings, make mixed drinks, and sell souvenir bottles out of their facilities. “We’re not advertising ourselves as a liquor store. People come in here for a tour; they’re coming here for the full experience. The change has definitely benefitted us.” Other distilleries are thankful for the work the Garcia family did with legislation in Kansas. Damian says, “It was a huge step for Kansas.” Union Horse Distilling is successful because they have found ways to work together as family, create spirits that their community desire, and find ways to diversify their profits. Knowing when to capitalize on other endeavors can be a smart move for all distilleries.
Union Horse Distilling is located in Lenexa, KS. For more information visit www.unionhorse.com or call (913) 492-3275. 104
Published on Dec 14, 2017