Broadbent Distillery: Whiskey and an owner full of character

Broadbent Distillery: Whiskey and an owner full of character

Nestled on the outskirts of the increasingly hip Des Moines is Iowa's smallest legal distillery. We visited John Broadbent at his acreage nestled in rural Warren County.

John started Broadbent Distillery in 2009 when grapes in his vineyard were on the verge of spoiling. First, he made grappa. But without much of a market for it and with an abundance of corn surrounding him, John got distilling. He's learned there's a much bigger thirst for the brown stuff (and the white stuff).

Broadbent Distillery makes two versions of whiskey from 100 percent Iowa corn — both twice distilled in small batches; one a white whiskey and the other aged in charred barrels to give it color and a hint more flavor.

Full of character, like his whiskey, John gave a colorful explanation of how he got started.

"One day I went to work and had it up to here with meetings. I'd rather take a weapon than go to work so I called my wife and said ‘I'm done.' I've been self-employed ever since. That's why I got into distilling. As it turned out, it's fun," John told us as we took a sip of his Two Jay's Iowa Whiskey Country Style.

While it makes for a good mixer, we think it is pure smoothness straight out of the bottle, poured over ice.


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