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Missouri Ridge Distillery and Brewery Slings Spirited Good Times

Jun 29, 2022 03:25PM ● By Jessica Wilmes
Nestled in the Ozark Mountains of Branson, on Taney County’s second-highest peak, is Missouri Ridge Distillery and Brewery, Branson's only grain-to-bottle distillery and first brewery. Here is where Master Distiller and owner, Greg Pope, crafts his award winning whiskies, moonshines and rum.


 Greg and his wife Jolie moved to Missouri from Utah to retire on a lush piece of land that offers views for 40 miles in any direction. Deciding to take on a new venture, the two pulled from their retirement fund and built a state-of-the-art distillery complete with a one-of-a-kind pot still. Designed by Greg, it’s the only distillation pot in the world to run a vertical canted column, which offers more copper exposure and results in a softer, smoother finished product. This is just one of the many identifiable reasons Greg’s spirits are nationally and internationally acclaimed.

As a third-generation distiller, Greg draws from techniques and recipes that he learned from his late grandfather who started distilling in 1925 while working at and borrowing know-how from a Chevron fuel refinery. “As master distiller, my goal is to continue my family’s legacy of producing high-quality small batch spirits,” Greg notes on his website.

Following the bourbon recipe of his grandfather using 60 percent corn and 40 percent barley, Greg notes that this is a more expensive bourbon to make but the quality shows in the taste and mouthfeel.

Beverage professionals agreed in March of 2017 when Greg submitted a 96-day- old bourbon to the Denver International Spirits Competition and came home with his first gold medal win. Since then, Greg’s bourbon has won gold (2018- 2021) at ‘The 50 Best Bourbon Whiskey Invitational’ in New York City and a double gold in 2022. Missouri Ridge continues to litter Greg’s shelves with medals from competitions nationwide.


Greg attended the Artisan Craft Distilling Institute in Washington state to fine- tune some of his knowledge and tactics but credits most of his skills to on-the- job training. Another element that sets Greg’s spirits apart is the quality of the water that he uses. Missouri Ridge Distillery & Brewery is its own public water utility. The Pope’s drilled 1000 feet deep through pure limestone to discover water with a profile similar to that of the Scottish Highlands.

“We pump it out of the ground as pure as God makes it,” said Greg. Their newest spirit to be released summer 2022 will be Amish Fire Sippin’ Shine, a cinnamon- based moonshine. Made from 100 percent Missouri grown corn, cinnamon, and some secret ingredients, Greg says this is the real deal for cinnamon shine, and doesn’t have a slimy texture like other similar products.


If spirits aren’t enough, Greg even has a 10-barrel brew system to keep fresh beer on tap for visitors. Rotating through several handles, Greg serves a variety of lagers, cream ales, pale ales, and stouts. And, to keep stomachs happy, Greg offers a full menu of smoked meats and sides, including smoked pulled pork, beef brisket, ribs and bacon, all cooked over an open-fire smoker powered by wood.

Smoking meat for more than 40 years, Greg has perfected his own dry-rub and uses the post-distillation wash from stills as the base for his signature BBQ sauce. His smoked meat has received so much attention lately, Greg was propositioned by a KC Master Barbecue Judge to form a KCBS team. BBQ is offered Friday and Saturday with advanced reservations.

From award-winning spirits, to beer, and world class BBQ, there really is something for everyone at Missouri Ridge Distillery and Brewery. “Come out and see for yourself why we are the house of liquid happiness,” Greg says. “We treat everyone here like family.”

Missouri Ridge Distillery and Brewery

7000 State Highway 

248 Branson, MO

(417) 699-4095