Our passions for both whiskey and history led us on a quest for heirloom corn varieties that were used by Missouri distilleries in the last century. We found what we were seeking in our own back yard. It all started when Tom Anderson, Master Distiller at Pinckney Bend Distillery was driving past an old-time corn crib, where a crew was shelling corn using equipment that has been obsolete for more than half a century. The operation was owned by a local company that produced corn cob pipes. They only use the cobs, and Tom wondered what happened to the corn, and if it would make good whiskey.
The Missouri Meerschaum Corn Cob Pipe Company in Washington MO has been producing pipes since 1869. Local farmers grew and shelled the corn, and Missouri Meerschaum provided a sizing ring. The pipe factory would buy any cob that was too large to pass thru the ring for as much as 4 cents per cob. In a time when cash money was hard to come by, this additional income made growing pipe corn particularly profitable for local farmers.
In addition to cool-smoking, durable and inexpensive pipes, Pipe Corn was known to make excellent whiskey. This fact had been lost in the mists of time, but rediscovered a few years ago by Pinckney Bend Distillery, located in the neighboring town of New Haven MO. Today’s Pipe Corn is unique in that it is a non-GMO cross based on several varieties that have a long history specific to our area. Because of this local historic significance, we call it our Hybrid Heirloom. The field located just across the Missouri River from the distillery, in a fertile section of ground known as Pinckney Bottoms. It’s a match made in heaven. We are lucky that our friends have joined in and will be bringing you a weekly “in-depth” about corn, smoking, whiskey or (better yet) all of the above. Below, meet our friend, Dan.
Hey, folks! I’m a new addition as a guest columnist here at the Pinckney Bend Blog, and there’s about a 99.94% chance you have no idea who I am. In short, it’ll suffice to say that I’m a recent transplant to Washington, Missouri, only having moved down here a week after my wedding last July. As a Michigander, I was fortunate to have very close proximity (generally speaking) to a lot of Pipe Shows, and made some positive waves in the Pipe Smoking Community as the youngster who kept showing up among all the old farts and mainstays of the Pipe World. The impact I made was enough to get me hired here at Missouri Meerschaum Company, and in learning the ‘ins and outs’ of this historic company it was brought to my attention that Pinckney Bend shares a close fellowship with us, as they buy our legendary Pipe Corn to make some particularly fine Whiskey. They quickly converted me to the
Holy Church of Gin and I converted most of them into pipe smokers. As brothers (and sisters) in the sin industry, we like to brag each other up to our patrons and give each other a mutually hard time, and it’s been a lot of fun to get to know them. But I’ve been rambling on, haven’t I? In the coming weeks and months, I’ll be looking forward to sharing some fun smoke and drink pairings, interesting histories, and collaborations between Pinckney Bend and Missouri Meerschaum Company. Thanks for having me aboard!
And, for no reason whatsoever, here is a video of us taking that amazing pipe corn and making mash.