This isn’t the first project that Cedar Ridge has trusted us with. In fact, they purchased their first grain bin from us nearly seven years ago to hold 1,000 bushels of grain.
“I’m not sure when the first time was that we started working with you,” said Murphy Quint, head distiller and director of operations at Cedar Ridge. “But I know this is definitely not our first project (working with Stutsman’s).”
In 16 years, Cedar Ridge has come a long way from renting a small garage area off Ben’s Beverage Depot in Cedar Rapids. While their focus at the start was more on the winery, they started producing bourbon in 2007 because “no one else in Iowa was doing it.” Today the winery sits on over 50 acres in Swisher, Iowa and now has the capability to produce approximately 200 barrels of bourbon whiskey per month.
“There’s a key component to us going from 120 to 200-plus barrels per month,” said Quint. “We want to increase our output while maintaining quality.”
An Additional GSI Bin
And that’s how our most recent grain bin project with Cedar Ridge started. Quint was looking for adequate storage to hold a truckload of each of the grains (corn, barley and rye) needed to make bourbon.
“We had three bins for storage of grain but two were small and each couldn’t hold a truckload of grain,” said Quint. “We really needed more storage and that’s why we got this extra bin so we now have the capacity to hold a truckload of corn, a truckload of barley and a truckload of rye.”
In July, our grain handling equipment crew installed a GSI hopper tank: a large bulk bin that’s 15-feet in diameter, four-rings tall and can hold 2,100 bushels of grain.
“This bin is a very big deal to us,” said Quint. “As long as we have those three grains on hand, you know today we could produce bourbon but tomorrow we could produce rye (whiskey) and the day after that we could produce single malt.”
New Auger System
Not only does the additional set-up allow for increased storage capacity, but the addition of the new flex auger system will help improve Cedar Ridge’s operation.
“The new auger system we’re installing is going to lead to a hammer mill that will produce a much better yield and is more environmentally friendly,” said Quint. “The hammer mill is able to produce a more powder-like grain, then we press and filter liquid off the grain while our old process was able to separate but not completely filter.”
With the additional storage and improved mill, Cedar Ridge will also increase their barrel storage this fall.
“Anytime we increase our production output, we have to have more barrel storage,” said Quint. “We’re putting up another barrel shed in September/October that will hold about 2,800 barrels.”
Bourbon whiskey, made from Iowa corn, is Cedar Ridge’s number one product but their winery also turns out 20,000 gallons of wine a year.
“We tasked our wine maker with not necessarily increasing the amount of wine, but to increase the quality,” said Quint.
Built for the Midwest
With grape harvest coming up, Cedar Ridge is the place to be this fall.
“We’ll make a weekend of it with our grape harvest as we invite visitors to help us pick and grape stomp,” said Quint. “We’re also bringing back a favorite, Sir Maple, a bourbon that is finished in casts that once held maple syrup.”
Cedar Ridge distributes to 30 different states and five countries but to see the new bins we put up, you’ll need to visit them in Swisher.
“The Midwest is our focal point,” said Quint. “We’re a Midwestern brand built for Midwesterners.”