A brewing and distilling renaissance is sweeping Overland Park and the Kansas City area. Inspired by a boozy history that included an underground bar scene that thrived during Prohibition, a vibrant collection of breweries, distilleries and wineries are flourishing throughout Overland Park and beyond, bringing new meaning to the phrase “drink local!”
Beer is the star at downtown Overland Park’s Brew Lab, which started as a professional brewing resource and home brew supply store and reopened in July 2017 in a new location that features an expanded brewery, taproom and restaurant. Not only can guests enjoy locally made beers and small plates; they can also sign up for classes and other opportunities to brew their own beer right alongside the pros.
Keep the brewery and winery crawl going in downtown Overland Park with a stop at the Aubrey Vineyards tasting room, located inside Vinyl Renaissance and Audio. The vineyards in southern Overland Park pay homage to the early days of the area’s winemaking, when, in the 1880s, Missouri was the largest producer of U.S. wines. Now, wineries in both Kansas and Missouri are quickly growing, including Aubrey Vineyards, which saw its first Overland Park harvest in the fall of 2015. Wines are available in three categories—premier, Trail Rider and varietals—and are available to sample or purchase by the bottle in the tasting room.
Local distilleries are fascinating places to sip, savor and get a firsthand look at how various spirits are crafted. Tom’s Town Distilling Co. is the first legal distillery in downtown Kansas City since Prohibition and, in addition to tours, offers an upscale, Art Deco-style bar and cocktail lounge. J. Rieger & Co. Distillery, originally founded in 1887 in Kansas City’s West Bottoms, was resurrected in 2014 with Rieger’s Kansas City Whiskey, a sherry-blended liquor. The company now offers several other spirits, including gin, vodka and experimental products like coffee liquor. In nearby Lenexa, Kan., visit Union Horse Distilling Company and try the signature rye whiskey, made from 100 percent rye mash and finished in oak barrels. Or for a truly remarkable experience, book a tour at S.D. Strong Distilling in Parkville, Mo., the only legal cave-bound distillery in the U.S.