Mad Buffalo Brewing Company, Inc. is a small, family-owned company that focuses on high quality, hand-crafted distilled spirits produced in small batches. Each inspired by our distinct family traditions. The Mad Buffalo Distillery, owned and operated by the Mad Buffalo Brewing Company, Inc., is a craft, small-batch producer of ultra-premium spirits that includes vodka, whiskey, rum, absinthe, gin, moonshine and other products. We focus on the “craft” in craft distillation. We consider ourselves to be artisans first, and beverage producers second. Everything we do revolves not only around the finished product, but how it comes into being. Our processes, traditional in nature, have been learned, honed, and crafted into a modern day replication of traditional methods. We still do most everything by hand. From malting our own grain, to our hand-crank grain mill, to actually stirring our mash, we focus on what is best for our product.
We also focus on sustainability, environmental stewardship, and corporate social responsibility. We do this by only purchasing locally produced products, grains, and supplies, operating in an environmental fashion, and by treating our shareholders, employees, and customers like family.
Our attitude is different than most companies. We believe in supporting our family, friends, and community while protecting the environment. We will not make decisions based solely on the fiscal bottom line, as we believe there are multiple bottom lines. Our impact on the planet, on each other, on our customers, and in our community is as important or more important as our profit. This may seem counter-intuitive, but as many financial analysts have become to see, companies that support corporate social responsibility have the same, if not a greater, return on equity than traditionally minded companies.
Located in Union, Missouri, Shawnee Bend Farms has been in the family for nearly 50 years and serves as the backdrop for the Distillery. It is a serene place where the neighbors are as close as family. Which is good, since we value our community, our friends, and our family. We work diligently to maintain a good relationship with the surrounding residents and include them in our plans when possible. We also work to ensure that they, if they are able and willing, are looked to first before looking to outside local vendors. We try to keep it “in the family.”
We want to welcome you to our community and hope that you will become a member of our family and not just a customer. We want our customers around for the long haul, and will work diligently to keep them coming back.
To produce superior quality, small batch, great tasting, craft distilled spirits focusing on environmental stewardship and sustainability while being a true responsible corporate citizen.
We want to change the world for the better, one drink at a time.
To become a leader in the craft industry while supporting our mission of being a family oriented company while protecting the environment, promoting sustainability and promoting corporate social responsibility.
-Ground to Glass-
“Grain to Glass”, is a philosophy that places importance on buying all the grain used in the production of a distilled spirit directly from the farmers that grow it. In most cases, they try to source everything within 50-100 miles of their distillery. This helps to support the local economy, reduces emissions from the transportation of ingredients, and increases the control the distillery has over the quality of their products. It also builds a sense of community.
To help fulfill our Vision and Mission, we have expanded the Grain to Glass idea into a Ground to Glass philosophy. We grow everything we use on site at our own family farm, Shawnee Bend Farms in Union, Missouri. Every glass you drink comes 100% from ingredients grown, cleaned, processed, distilled, blended and bottled by our family.
So, in keeping with this philosophy, we present to you products made entirely of socially responsible non-GMO grains, sustainably grown on our farm using environmentally friendly methods, and hand-crafted in small batches into ultra premium distilled spirits for your pleasure. If there ever comes a time where we need a product that doesn’t not come from our Farm, we will inform our customers, through the use of batch notes of that particular batch, through our website. We believe in transparency and feel that the truth is the only way to instill trust. “Welcome to the family.”
Our Cooling System
Distillation stills require a great deal of water that is used to cool the distillate prior to collection. Most distilleries either plug directly into a municipal water supply and run the water down the drain, or they install a industrial chiller using refrigerant or other chemicals to cool the water after use. Instead of wasting water by running it through our condensers once, we have developed our own closed loop system to reduce water usage. Every ounce of water that is used to cool our stills, is cooled, and reused countless times. On top of that, we decided to save even more water by catching and using rain water as the only source of water used in the system. The water is cooled by air cooling tanks which also serve as rain water collectors. The rain water is collected off the roof of the facility, thereby reducing the impact of the impermeable surface of our building. The only energy used is the power required to run a pump to move the water through the system. We also plan to install a solar array system to power this system, and other systems, by the end of 2013.
Use of Spring Water in Our Mash
A quality water source is a big deal among distillers and brewers. You have undoubtedly heard someone say, “It’s the water.” Most distilleries without a good source use municipal water systems and reverse osmosis systems to completely filter the water prior to use, and then add chemicals and other minerals to get to the mineral content they desire. We are lucky to have a water source that is high in calcium and other minerals, but also low in iron and other unwanted minerals. Our spring water is pumped to our facility, filtered, and used directly as the base ingredient in our recipe. I think you’ll agree that it’s worth it.
Our in-house water cleaning system
Instead of sending our wastewater down the drain into a septic system, we catch all our wastewater and send it through a multi-tiered system to clean the water before introducing it into our pond. Each tier of the system is designed to remove certain impurities from the water before sending it to the next tier. It is designed based on systems used by major corporations to comply with EPA regulations. The first small pond removes large particles through settling. The second removes impurities through remediation by water-based plants. The third removes even more impurities with the use of fish and other plants. By the time the water reaches the pond, it is clean, clear, and ready for introduction into our pond.
We are currently on the grid and pay for each kw of electricity we use. By the end of 2013, we plan on running several systems off of solar and wind power. We will run our cooling system, in-house pumps, surveillance cameras, and other chargeable systems off a solar array. We will also run the well pump to bring spring water to the facility off of a wind-powered pump. We are also currently in the process of converting our farm and distillery vehicles to run off of either bio-diesel or ethanol, which we will produce on site.
Use of river & pond for malting
We malt our corn using a traditional method of immersion in a cool, non-stagnant water source. Because the Bourbous River surrounds us on three sides, we use the river to germinate our corn and finish the process in our Malt House.
The waste mash, or what is leftover after distillation, is collected, dried, and sold to local cattle ranchers as a feed supplement. High in protein and low in starchy carbohydrates, Distillers Grain is a commodity that is highly sought after. We’ve decided to sell it at low cost to our neighbors and thereby get rid of our waste and still make a few bucks at the same time.
Use of Sustainable Farming
We use cover crops, no till farming, and other sustainable methods to ensure that our grain is environmentally friendly and socially responsible.
Plans to become 100% Non-GMO (Genetically Modified) Corn and Grains
We plan to use 100% non-GMO corn and other non-GMO grain by the end of the year. As technology advances, farmers and the environmental community have come to the realization that genetically modifying plants, especially food grains, is not a good idea. There is something inherently wrong with modifying a seed that is destined to be our food to contain herbicide and insecticide. We have started to refuse to grow and sell corn modified in this way and this has branched over to our distilled spirits.
We have our barrels made at McGinnis Wood Products in Cuba, Missouri using trees that have been sustainably managed and grown in Missouri. We are also planning on using American Oak trees that have fallen on our own property to make barrels for one of our signature brands. We have also used fallen trees on our property to make desks, stirring paddles, and other items that we use in the Distillery.
We strive to source all our equipment, supplies, and other needs from local vendors, if at all possible. We know that this is not always possible, but we make every attempt to do so. We get our grain from our own farm, our bottles from the next town over, our barrels from McGinnis Wood Products in Cuba, Missouri, our boxes from Union, Missouri, and our labels are printed in St. Louis, Missouri.
The Mad Buffalo Distillery is a small facility located on Shawnee Bend Farms in Union, Missouri. We operate two 30 gallon, small batch column stills.
Shawnee Bend Farms, is a sustainable agricultural bliss experiment, that is owned and operated by the Uphouse and Burnette families in on the Bourbeuse River in Union, Missouri.
For more information visit: http://www.shawneebendfarms.com
Here is a photo gallery detailing most of the process that goes into creating our Thunderbeast Brand Spirits: