The craft beverage industry is thriving in Springfield and the Ozarks. Local establishments produce local libations like never before. This post is one of three that focus on the libation crafters of the Springfield area. Click here to see the entire series.
From successful wineries to hometown breweries, the Springfield area is home to a growing number of local businesses specializing in crafting delicious adult beverages.
Just in the last decade, downtown Springfield’s brewery district has flourished, creating craft beers, as well as signature events to go along with them. Local distilleries and wineries have appeared on the scene, making Springfield the go-to destination in the Ozarks for breweries, wineries and distilleries.
Copper Run Distillery & Tasting Room
Speaking of moonshine, just down the road from Bear Creek, Copper Run Distillery & Tasting Room has plenty of it — and much more.
Walking into the distillery, the smell of whiskey is unmistakeable. It’s almost as if you can taste it before even making it to the bar. Katherine Smith, marketing representative for Copper Run, greets guests and offers up her extensive knowledge of the spirits produced here.
“Here in the Ozarks, people tend to like bourbon best, so naturally, whiskey is our most popular spirit,” she says. “And everything here is all natural and handcrafted from grain to bottle.”
Copper Run, in operation since 2009, is the first legal distillery in the Ozarks. White oak trees on the property are used to make the whiskey barrels and they use fresh well water, rich with limestone, that acts as a natural filtration.
Along with the whiskey and moonshine, Copper Run distills both white and dark rum. All the spirits are available for tasting. Also, you can purchase one of their popular infused cocktails, a famous Bloody Mary or simply a whiskey neat.
Some people say we serve the best Bloody Mary they’ve ever had,” says Smith. “And our most popular fusion is Apple Pie Moonshine.”
Cooper Run partners with Bear Creek Wine Company to encourage visitors to visit both attractions and, in fact, a visit to both makes a perfect afternoon or evening. Copper Run also works in tandem with Springfield’s breweries and recently distilled a whiskey using hops from Mother’s Brewing Company.
“We get a lot of our praise from customers because we’ve kept it local by working with local wineries and breweries,” adds Smith. “Keeping it local to feed the community is important to us.”
Scott Shotts found his love for distilling spirits working at Copper Run. He opened Missouri Spirits in Springfield in 2011 on the city’s south side before moving the spirit house downtown in 2014.
“We wanted to bring fresh, handcrafted spirits to Springfield,” says Shotts. “Springfield has had great beer for years and now we have great spirits as well.”
Located in a former body shop next to SBC, Missouri Spirits acts as a tasting room, bar, restaurant and event center all in one.
“Our spirits are as fresh as they can be,” says Shotts. “Our motto is eat and drink local and we pride ourselves in being a place where you can eat or drink something you can’t order anywhere else.”
As with Copper Run, bourbon is the most popular spirit at Missouri Spirits. They produce vodka, corn whiskey and bourbon all under the label and are working on rum and gin.
Schotts says Bill’s Bullet, bourbon infused with red apple and tobacco shrub, lemon juice and smoked ice, is their most popular cocktail. A close second is the Missouri Mule, a local take on the famous Moscow version. The pork sliders with housemade barbecue sauce are also a favorite.
“There’s a lot more you can do with bourbon than just drink it straight,” says Shotts.
Now that you’re more familiar with what the Springfield area has to offer in craft beverages, it’s time to plan your tour of these most unique places in southwest Missouri.
Written by Adam McMullin from the Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau.