A distillery with origins in Walnut Shade is on the verge of reopening this week after moving six months ago to Branson West.
Thursday is the targeted public opening for Copper Run Distillery LLC’s new location at 14720 Business 13. The 2009-founded company relocated in September 2021 roughly 20 miles away from its original home at 1901 Day Road in Walnut Shade, said co-owner Keith Hock.
Hock said the past several months involved making renovations to Copper Run’s 5,000-square-foot building in Branson West, along with waiting on the inspection process to complete. The facility, about 3 miles south of the intersection with State Highway 76, has been closed to production, as well as public tours and drink tastings of its whiskeys, moonshine and rum, since last year’s move.
“We really beefed up our production in the months leading up to leaving our former location,” he said, noting its products are sold locally in stores including Brown Derby, Hy-Vee, Macadoodles and Price Cutter, as well as in two dozen area bars and restaurants. “We had built up an inventory of both aged and unaged products to get us through the transition.”
Hock said he purchased the building last year from All Seasons Comfort Systems LLC, estimating the total investment, including renovations, at roughly $300,000. Some of the building work included new HVAC installation, as well as adding a bar and retail space.
“By the end of April, we’ll be back in full production,” he said. “Between now and then, we’ll be in partial production.”
The former distillery location, which was well off the highway on wooded land leased from the Blansit family, was limited in space and ability to scale up beverage production, Hock said. It was at full capacity, as Copper Run had nearly 80 barrels aging. The capacity at the new facility could approach 400 barrels, although he said it will take many years for the company to reach that volume.
“We really needed a building where we had many years of potential capacity to store barrels,” Hock said. “The second one was logistics. In our old location, it was very difficult to get trucks in and out, whether they were dropping off supplies or picking up orders.”
Hock and business partner Jason Iacobucci bought Copper Run for an undisclosed price in 2018 from Jim White and founder Jim Blansit, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.
Aside from its product distribution in Springfield, Hock said Copper Run is on shelves in St. Louis-area Schnucks stores and Branson-area Walmart locations. Its distribution footprint has also grown since 2018 outside Missouri to Arkansas and Illinois, he said, adding more states are in the company’s plans in the next couple of years. Its distributors include Cicero, Illinois-based Breakthru Beverage Group, Little Rock, Arkansas-based Moon Distributors and Miami-based Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits.
A 24-unit building under construction will join six existing buildings this spring at The Foothills Condos at Thousand Hills.