One young couple creates path with the love of their craft
A sweet escape sits off the beaten path, nestled in a grove of cedar trees at 43937 Hwy 36 (eastbound), a few miles east of Monroe City. Since opening May 15 area residents have enthusiastically embraced Sweetwater’s spirits. Hunnewell native, Andy Utterback and his wife Heather, of rural Monroe City, opened Sweetwater Distillery, after more than three years of planning and preparation.
Andy and Heather with the help of their five-year-old son Silex, good friend Brad Pfanner and some close friends and family have created a quaint place to gather. Andy is a welder by trade and Heather holds a bachelor’s degree in human services. Together Andy and Heather both attended the Moonshine University in Louisville, Kentucky.
Upon entering the distillery, beautiful and fragrant cedar plank walls, rustic tin accents and copper colored tin ceiling make you feel at home and yet at the same time, no place you’ve ever been. Heather stated, “We are a rural business for the surrounding towns, laid back and casual. We want you enjoy your time and feel at home here.”
Customers can enjoy many crafts made in the house of transformation from handmade stills: Corn whiskey, rye whiskey, gin, rum and the 19 times distilled smooth Vodka. They also offer free tours and tastings. A choice of pours may be purchased ranging from shots to a variety of cocktails. Not ones to rest on their laurels, the Utterback’s plan to add wine and an apple pie spirit. Heather states she would like to hold a Bloody Mary making competition in the fall among other events. Andy states, “Since we opened our doors, we have been happily busy non-stop. We like seeing returning customers and seeing where our customers come from.”
Like the printed label on the back of the bottle of the 19 times distilled Vodka “Sweetwater Distillery is the first of its kind located in Northeast Missouri along highway 36, the way of the American Genius nestled right beside Mark Twain lake. Sweetwater Distillery handcrafted their stills from the ground up and have now turned their focus on using high quality grains to produce some of the finest distilled spirits. “
Sweetwater Distillery is open 7 days a week and offers indoor and outdoor seating, Italian Village pizza from Columbia for dine in, T shirts, hats, koozies, cups and of course in house distilled and bottled whiskey and vodka. Bottles of Sweetwater’s signature distilled Vodka and whiskey are $25 each. Current hours are Sunday through Thursday 12 to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday 12 to 10 p.m. You can follow the happenings of Sweetwater Distillery LLC on Facebook, contact them by phone at 573-406-4051, or visit their website at https//sweetwater-distillery.com.