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New Distillery Set to Bring More ‘Spirit’ to Downtown Davenport

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The micro world of locally-made beers and liquors is about to get a little bit bigger in the Quad Cities.

Artisan Grain Distillery, 318 E. 2nd Street in Davenport, is set to open in October 2014.

The 114-year-old building houses Davenport Tractor, Inc. -- an antique tractor replacement parts shop -- and is owned by Allen Jarosz, who is now making some space in the storefront for a micro-distillery.

"After being here awhile, we realized farmers really didn't care whether the tractor parts were purchased here or in the back and we thought a better space for this would be something that appealed to people of downtown Davenport and the tourists that come to Davenport," Jarosz said while giving News 8 a sneak peek on Friday, August 15th, 2014.

The micro-manufacturer says he plans to make moonshine, white whiskey, and white rum -- serving up a different kind of drink than other distillers in the area.

"We all have our own ideas of what products we want to make and what niches in the market we want to serve."

In fact, Jarosz says he sees the owners at the Mississippi River Distilling Company in LeClaire, Iowa as friends and his neighbors at Great River Brewery as partners. To him, the craft is more about camaraderie than competition.

"The guys next door at Great River had some great comments last week that the Quad Cities is thirsty and you cannot possibly make enough beverage for the entire Quad Cities," said Jarosz. "It's a great shared partnership between all of us that I think have different products we want to develop."

Jarosz says he's looking forward to joining the grain-to-glass group in the Quad City area. He has already built a water tower in the soon-to-be distillery and says he expects the rest of the equipment -- a kettle, six fermenting tanks, and a copper still -- to arrive in mid-September. He hopes to start distilling right away, with a Grand Opening tentatively set for October 24th, which he says signifies both the new moon and his moonshine.

"It's a little odd because folks think that they can home distill and they can't," he said. "Everything is permitted by the Federal Government so to finally have those permits, finally have equipment, and finally be able to do it on your own is really exciting."