Mad Buffalo Distillery Makes Moonshine Eco-Friendly

Categories: Booze

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The Mad Buffalo family in front of their corn.
"Sustainable" and "moonshine" aren't often heard in the same sentence, but Mad Buffalo Brewing Company is hoping to make its sustainably produced Thunderbeast Storm Moonshine a household name.

Chris Burnette and his family founded Mad Buffalo in November 2011 on ShawneeBend Farm in Union, Missouri. Burnette tells Gut Check his family has been making moonshine for 200 years, so the notion that he would produce legal moonshine with the corn from his farm seemed only natural.

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Kaitlin Steinberg
"My family is a moonshine family," Burnette says. "Growing up, my grandmother would use us kids as shields to deliver moonshine. She said she wouldn't get pulled over with us in the car, and she never did."

Before his grandmother passed away, she gave Burnette her moonshine recipe, and he admits, glancing around surreptitiously, he made it on his back porch for the next fifteen years. Now, Burnette and his family are focused on producing legal moonshine for the first time since before Prohibition.

In addition to the family's devotion to moonshine, they are passionate about the notion of "grain to glass" -- or buying all the grain used in the production of liquor straight from the farmers who grow it. Mad Buffalo Distillery takes this idea a step further. All of the corn used in the moonshine comes from their family farm, and the family has developed a closed-loop water system for cooling the distillate that reduces the amount of water waste. They clean all the water they use in-house, and they plan on being dependent on solar and wind power by the end of 2013.

"Because we grow the corn and produce everything ourselves, I have direct control on the quality of the corn, how it's ground, how it's stored -- every aspect of the process," Burnette says. "By the time it gets in the bottle, it's exactly how we want it. If it's no good, we scrap it. But that hasn't happened yet."

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