116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Cedar Ridge Distillery bourbon No. 1, again, in state sales
‘We've been to some extent in the right place at the right time’
By Katie Mills Giorgio, - correspondent
Jan. 24, 2022 11:04 am, Updated: Jan. 25, 2022 11:16 am
For the second year in a row, Cedar Ridge Distillery in Swisher outsold legacy whiskey brands — some 100 other brands — to become the No. 1 selling 750 ml bourbon in the state of Iowa.
This makes it the only craft distillery to do so in its home state two years in a row.
According to the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division rolling 12-month sales report by category, Cedar Ridge Iowa Straight Bourbon Whiskey finished 2021 as the top selling 750 ml bourbon in the state by more than 35 percent.
“To be able to outsell Jim Beam and Maker's Mark and other legacy brands that have been around for decades and decades, it’s hard to put into words how excited we are about that accomplishment. It’s huge and we are very humbled by it but also very proud,” said Jamie Siefken, general manager and executive vice president at Cedar Ridge.
Bourbon, one of the more popular spirits in the country right now, is an especially fitting product to have become so popular in Iowa, Siefken said.
“I think Iowans believe in a local product and they will buy you once if you are local,” Siefken said. “But if it’s not a good value and they don’t like your product, they aren’t going to buy it again.
“We’ve said numerous times that we know our consumers are smart and they understand that price and quality have to coincide.”
“We've been to some extent in the right place at the right time, but nevertheless against the other brands we're still outpacing them,” added Jeff Quint, Cedar Ridge founder and CEO.
Quint noted bourbon by law must be at least 51 percent corn.
“It seemed like kind of an obvious choice for us to establish a brand here. And it didn’t take long for us to realize that bourbon would be a flagship product for us,” he said.
Having first started selling bourbon in 2010, Quint said it’s quite an accomplishment to have gotten to the top of the sales chart in the state in only a decade’s time.
“By 2018 it became a goal to get there and by 2020 we achieved it,” he recalled. “Now it’s certainly part of our annual plan to stay No. 1 in Iowa.”
“Bourbon isn’t just something you make one year and then sell it the next,” Quint added. “Right now, our production team is working around the clock making bourbon for 2026. Our bourbon product for sales for the next three years is already resting in barrels. It’s quite a process.”
Quint and Siefken said they now are also focusing efforts to increase brand awareness in the surrounding states. Siefken said sales grew by almost 75 percent in contiguous states last year.
“We're really taking that momentum that we have here in Iowa and we're transforming it to more of a regional brand,” Siefken added.