Steve Strong believes he operates the only legal alcohol still in a cave in the world.
“There is a brewery in Canada that makes beer, but I am the only person that I have found that makes spirits in a cave,” Strong said.
Strong operates the S.D. Strong distillery in the Park University Commercial Underground. A series of limestone caves carved and blasted under the Parkville campus.
Strong crafts vodka, gin, rye whiskey and his latest offering, bourbon.
Previously there were tours and tasting parties offered in the cave, located at Pillar 136 in the underground system, from which the distillery’s gin receives its name.
But, there is a new avenue to show off his space and product after an expansion into a neighboring space to create more room to store the increasing number of barrels.
Strong ages his bourbon for three years — to be considered bourbon the alcohol must remain in an oak barrel for two years — and recently Strong began aging his Pillar 136 Gin for one year to provide a different flavor to what has been on the shelf so far.
The added space gave Strong a place to host larger crowds and the latest is a concert in the cave this weekend. On Friday, May 25 Wild Rivers performed in the cave, the seventh such show in the new space. Chain Station is set to perform Thursday, June 7 in the space.
“We were just going to have one a quarter, but now we’re having management companies reach out to us,” Strong said. “It’s pretty cool to play in a cave. We’ve had some decent success getting people down here. It’s a unique experience.”
Strong has seen growth since beginning his journey in the distilling world in 2012 and the concerts will add more visibility to a business located 65 feet below ground.