by Liz Miller
Last week Gannett profiled Copper Run Distillery out of Walnut Shade, calling it the first legal distillery to crop up in the Ozark Mountains since Prohibition. Copper Run produces un-aged corn whiskey, also known as moonshine, from a blend of 80 percent corn and 20 percent wheat. The end result clocks in at a staggering 75 to 80 percent alcohol content per bottle.The distillery also makes whiskey, vodka and rum from black-strap molasses.
The distillery is a family-owned and -operated business, founded by artisan distiller Jim Blansit. Currently Copper Run products are only available at three locations in the state: the distillery's headquarters in Walnut Shade, the Brown Derby International Wine Center in Springfield, and the Palate Fine Wine and Provisions in Branson. Though its moonshine and other assorted imbibers aren't yet available in St. Louis, the curious can get their fill at the distillery tasting room and take a tour of the operations, which are both made available daily for the public.
Copper Run prides itself on being the first legitimate distillery to emerge from the Ozarks since Prohibition. A family business in more ways than one, Blansit's family produced and traded moonshine to make ends meat during the Great Depression. Now his parents, wife and children help produce, bottle and manage the business.