Jump in state alcohol sales encourages some distilleries to expand

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SWISHER, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- An upcoming report from the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division shows the alcohol industry is booming in Iowa.

It's helping a local distillery feels more confident about expanding. The Cedar Ridge Winery and Distillery said they're looking to double their production. This comes after the Iowa Alcoholic Beverage Division says statewide sales have jumped in the last year.

"Distilled spirits seem to be gaining the most momentum and within distilled spirits, whiskey especially and then within whiskey, craft whiskey," said Jeff Quint, the owner of Cedar Ridge Winery and Distillery in Swisher.

Owner Jeff Quint hopes that part of their three year expansion project will be funded through county tax credits. He said the it will benefit the local economy in the long term including a handful of new jobs.

"It makes sense for us to be producers of distilled spirits. Most distilled spirits are made from corn and we produce more corn than any state in the country," said Quint.

One Swisher bar is tasting the sweet profits over the last year.

"We've been able to experiment with some of those things, some different drinks with some of the spirits that we've gotten and especially the craft beer. We have some of the best craft beer," said Rebekah Neuendorf, a co-owner of the Black Squirrel Tap in Swisher.

Customers agree that people feel more connected to local brewers and distilleries.

"If you know that something is being made where you're from, it's kind of cool and you want to try that and maybe tell more people about that and bring them to your community," said Courtney Melchert of Swisher.

Quint said other breweries and wineries regularly help each other out.

"I routinely have discussions with other distilleries in the state. I've helped them with many things and they've helped me probably with even more. We've seen tremendous growth during this period so we're thrilled to be part of that," said Quint.