Stumpy’s Spirits opens with a bang near Columbia

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Joined by family, friends, Waterloo Chamber of Commerce members and other local officials, Adam and Laura Stumpf (center) cut the ribbon to commemorate the opening of Stumpy’s Spirits on Saturday. (Corey Saathoff photo)

A dream years in the making has come true for a rural Columbia man, right next to his family’s seventh-generation farm.

A successful grand opening of Stumpy’s Spirits, a craft distillery that is the brainchild of Adam Stumpf, took place Saturday at 1727 Centerville Road.

“We had a huge crowd,” Stumpf said. “At one point, I looked out and saw cars lined all the way up both sides of the driveway and even out onto Centerville Road. We are so incredibly thankful that so many people came out for the opening on such a hot day. We think that we ended up with right around 1,000 visitors.”

Stumpf, a 2006 graduate of Columbia High School, started out as an “engineering kid nerding out over beer” while attending college at Missouri S&T.  But that soon turned into a slightly different kind of passion.

Stumpf started working for Anheuser-Busch, primarily in operations and logistics, while earning his master’s degree at Washington University.

Stumpy’s Spirits owner and master distiller Adam Stumpf provides a tour of his new distillery during Saturday’s grand opening at 1727 Centerville Road near Columbia. (Corey Saathoff photo)

While attending Wash U., his group was a finalist in a business case competition. It was at that point he started to believe in his distillery dream.

At Stumpy’s, every kernel used in the distilling process is grown on the family farm. Stumpy’s currently offers Unbroken Vodka and Old Monroe White Whiskey for sale, although the inventory was severely depleted by Saturday’s successful opening.

“Our short-term goals are to rebuild white whiskey and vodka inventory, start barreling bourbon and begin distribution in the metro-east and St. Louis,” Stumpf said. “Our long-term goals are to grow distribution throughout the midwest and even the rest of the nation. We are also kicking around the idea of building a tasting room/event center in the future.”

Stumpf said he also plans to experiment with different whiskeys and even some flavored vodkas, which he will infuse with locally grown fruits and honey.

Stumpf said his larger batches typically take about 2.5 weeks to produce. The bourbon, however, takes at least a year due to the oak barrel aging process.

“If we pushed a batch of vodka or white whiskey all the way through the system, it would take about 1.5 weeks. Because we do multiple distillations, we end up accumulating about three batches after the first distillation and then move on with final distillations and finishing,” he explained.

What sets Stumpy’s apart from other distilleries, Stumpf said, is that they grow their own grain.

“We are also working on a malting system that will allow us to be completely single-sourced,” he said.

This means every kernel of grain used will be planted, grown and harvested on the family farm.

The water is also a big point of differentiation, he stressed.

“Our water source is very similar to those found in Bourbon County, Ky., because we sit on a very similar geology (Karst),” Stumpf said. “Basically, all of those sinkholes around the distillery drain into a limestone aquifer, which is where we pull our well water from.”

Stumpf and his wife, Laura, certainly couldn’t have advanced their dream this far without plenty of help from family and friends.

“On a continual basis, it is generally just me with my wife, brother, father, grandfather, or friends stopping in to lend a hand when they can,” Stumpf said. “We usually have at least two people working.

As we begin to grow and distribute, we will definitely be hiring help.”

The Stumpfs wish to give special thanks to their immediate family, Allen and Cheryl Stumpf, Andrew Stumpf, John and Brenda Heidenreich, and Matthew Heidenreich and Rachel Juenger.

“We also want to acknowledge all of our friends and family that helped prepare for and run the grand opening,”Adam said. “Without them, none of it would have been possible.

“Finally, we have to give a huge thank you to the community and everyone who came out to experience the grand opening. The amount of support we have seen is absolutely incredible.”

For more information on Stumpy’s Spirits, call 618-830-6356, email adam.stumpf@stumpysspirits.com, or visit online at www.StumpysSpirits.com.

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