HISTORIC, CLASSIC, AND JUST PLAIN GOOD

It’s hard to find a business that makes patrons want to disconnect and relax, but Bone Hill View Distillery does just that. When someone walks into Bone Hill, it’s comparable to walking into simpler days. It has natural wood, beautiful original brick walls, with handcrafted iron accents hung throughout. The eyes lead straight back to a beautiful still that can be seen from any place  in the building. Often ran through the still is a unique shine produced from the best ingredients. A customer described Bone Hill as “rustic as an old western saloon with the class of an upscale cocktail bar.” Bone Hill’s mission is simple and timeless. Owners Chris Earnshaw and Jerry Brady have a desire for both distilling and history. Both are happy to share their passions with anyone who wants to listen.

Bone Hill’s inspiration started with a 2011 article in Rural Missouri magazine. The article featured details about a distillery in Southern Missouri. It was enough to convince Earnshaw to visit later that summer. He and his wife almost turned around after trying to find the distillery in the middle of nowhere, and then there it was sitting on top of a hill. This visit ignited a spark to begin the process of getting something like this started on their 15-acre property south of Buckner, Missouri. A historic landmark that can be seen from their property is Bone Hill.

Distilling is considered light industrial activity in Jackson County. To be properly zoned, the business would have to reside in a nearby town. The next step was to convince a small, nearby town to work with them to properly zone a micro-distillery.

Brady’s aunt worked in Buckner at the time. They talked to her about possibly opening the business there. She informed them that type of operation would most likely not get approved. The duo pitched the idea to the City by sending a couple of webpages of similar micro-distilleries located in Missouri and Iowa.

A couple of weeks later, a call was received from the mayor at the time that he approved the idea. The distillery would help grow commerce and promote the community. Revitalization of downtown Buckner was already in progress. A new restaurant under construction and relocation of City Hall convinced them to call Buckner home.

The name Bone Hill resonated with the business because it is an actual landmark of Eastern Jackson County. Research of Bone Hill depicts an interesting heritage, so much so that there is a whole wall of artifacts and pictures showcasing the history of the time. The name is perfect as a conversation starter with customers as well. “It’s here in Eastern Jackson County, has a lot of things in history it ties back to, and is a cool sounding name,” Earnshaw said.

The love for history and the region also echoes in the unique products found at Bone Hill View Distillery. Their products are made in-house from sweet sorghum grass, called Sweet Sorghum Shine. It comes in three variations; Regular Sweet Sorghum Shine, Spiced Sweet Sorghum Shine and Oak Finished Sweet Sorghum Shine.

The base of their products is made from sweet sorghum syrup. The reason why is because they came across a unique history behind this syrup. A lot of people in America make whiskey (and other alcoholic products) out of corn, or some grain product. Earnshaw and Brady were in search of something unique.

The owners liked the idea that a product made from sorghum syrup would resemble rum, a familiar taste to many. It also has a lot of history behind it, a critical component in their business. Although sorghum syrup does not tie directly to the region of Bone Hill, it is from a time when pioneers inhabited an area near the landmark many years ago. It is a unique ingredient not found on every liquor self.

Individuals can try these by the shot, bottle or in one of their signature cocktails. Cherry Limeade is the biggest seller among cocktails. Missouri River Water is a unique cocktail that tastes good but is ugly, according to Earnshaw. The drink contains Dr. Pepper, chocolate milk, among other ingredients, making a concoction that resembles a glass of dirty Missouri River water. The name entices people to try it, while also tying back to the Missouri River.

Upcoming seasonal products incorporate fresh produce from nearby orchards and farms. Earnshaw and Brady recently went to Fahrmeier’s U-Pick, located between Wellington and Lexington, and picked 50 pounds of strawberries for their strawberry liquor. “That’s a lot of work for an old man, let me tell you, two hours on our hands and knees,” Earnshaw said. Strawberry liquor will be available to the public soon. Plans are underway to utilize blackberries and pears as well. Blackberries are expected to be ripe around the end of June, and pears are anticipated around August or September.

For those wondering how a product that tastes good, is very unique, but made in a tiny, unassuming room, Earnshaw has a simple answer: “Did your grandmother make a good apple pie? It’s not how much equipment there is, or how big you are. If you make something that is good, then it’s good. If people like it, then they like it. A grandmother’s delicious apple pie is often made in her small kitchen.” Bone Hill exemplifies that it’s not always the size of the equipment or the establishment that makes a product good.

For more information about Bone Hill View Distillery, call 816.650.0655, or email bhvdistillery@gmail.com. Find them on Facebook @BoneHillViewDistillery, or stop by at 321 South Hudson in Bucker.