Of the Earth Farm Distillery’s co-owners Jim Pierce and Sarah Burnett Pierce have opened a new tasting room approximately one hour north of Kansas City. Close enough to visit for a day trip, the tasting room sells Of the Earth's handcrafted spirits by the bottle, in flights and in cocktails.

Six years ago, the Pierces began distilling spirits in a Portuguese copper alembic still located on a family member’s remote farm orchard in Rayville, Missouri. Seeking to more easily reach customers, the couple built the new tasting room and production distillery in Richmond, Missouri, along Highway 13.

Jim Pierce distills locally-sourced fruits and ingredients, such as apples, berries, honey and even beets, from the family farm and regional farms. Of the Earth’s honey and beetroot spirits are two distinctive products found at the tasting room.

“Distilling adds value to crops like beets,” Jim says. “It creates a new product and pays the farmer more than they can earn for the commodity price of beets.”

Pierce runs farm-grown beets through a grinder/slicer also used for apples. The crushed beets are mashed, fermented and distilled into a clear spirit. The result is a potent spirit with a faint earthy character that does not taste like or otherwise resemble beets.

The distillery also makes apple brandy, Ray County Rye whiskey made from rye grown in the county, grappa, blackberry liqueur, a coffee liqueur made from coffee beans sourced from Dona Fina Farms, and Pommeau, a blend of apple spirits and juice produced from apples grown in the family’s orchards, which is aged in a recycled apple brandy barrel.

“Apple brandy is our best-seller,” says Pierce. “To make honey spirit, I obtained a source of honey from a local farm and mashed, fermented and distilled it.” 

Like all of Of The Earth’s spirits, the honey spirit may be consumed neat, on the rocks or in a cocktail. The Blind Bee, a cocktail prepared at the tasting room bar, is made with honey spirit, grenadine, lemon juice and Angostura bitters. As brightly colored as the newly harvested peonies in the tasting room, the vibrant pink cocktail is a refreshing sipper on a warm summer day.

Other cocktails include a Farmhand Martini, classic Horsefeather and G&G made with grappa, ginger ale, lime and vanilla. Kickstart combines coffee liqueur and Boozy Botanicals vanilla allspice mixer. Wine, beer and soda are also available. At the tasting room, Of the Earth also sells housemade sausage and pepperoni, a modestly-priced array of local charcuterie and cheese and other light snacks.

Boozy Botanicals’ cocktail syrups, wines from Vox Vineyards, spirits from Edelbrand Pure Distilling and Of the Earth’s line of spirits are available for sale. The tasting room also stocks locally-produced goods such as handcrafted cheese and charcuterie boards from Bent Wood, books and watercolor prints.

The Pierces plan to release seasonal and limited-run spirits. The distillery also sells bottles of its spirits at City Market on Saturdays; spirits are also available at a handful of local retailers.

Of the Earth Farm Distillery Tasting Room, 17190 Highway 13, Richmond, Missouri, 660.232.1096, oftheearthfarm.com

Writer Pete Dulin is the author of Kansas City Beer: A History of Brewing in the Heartland, KC Ale Trail, and Expedition of Thirst: Exploring Breweries, Wineries and Distilleries Across Central Kansas and Missouri.

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