- Associated Press - Monday, June 9, 2014

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Just a few years after founding Twister Distillery in Moore, Garrett Janko has sold his stake in the company and started a new distillery just down the street.

Located in the same industrial park in Moore as Twister, Scissortail Distillery is the only company in the state now making bourbon, as far as Janko knows. Scissortail Bourbon hit liquor store shelves in Oklahoma on May 1 and Janko already has sold 320 cases.

Janko’s two stills are situated in an industrial garage space with a concrete floor and walls that are mostly bare except for a banner bearing the Scissortail logo that hangs above a stack of wooden casks where the bourbon and rum are aged.

While Twister has focused its efforts primarily on making vodka, Janko is concentrating at Scissortail on bourbon and rum.

“I wanted to focus on the whiskey and bourbon market and rum,” Janko told The Oklahoman (https://bit.ly/1pRCOzy).

Although Oklahoma is only home to a handful of distilleries, there’s ample demand for Oklahoma-made spirits, Janko said.

“We like to beat our own drum in Oklahoma and it doesn’t hurt that it also tastes really, really good,” Janko said.

Although Oklahoma has never been known for making bourbon, it turns out the state’s erratic climate is good for aging the spirit, Janko said. Unfortunately it’s not so great for the oak casks, which can swell or shrink - and leak - depending on the humidity and temperature.

The mash for the bourbon is made with corn, barley and rye; about 90 percent of the ingredients come from Shawnee Milling Co. and are grown in Oklahoma, Janko said.

After the distilling process, the bourbon is aged in 15-gallon casks for at least three months before it is bottled and sent through distributors to liquor stores across the state.

Janko hopes to have a Scissortail rum, called Oklahoma Land Rum, made with organic molasses on store shelves in July. He’s also been experimenting with a single-malt chocolate whiskey made with chocolate wheat.

“It actually tastes like a Hershey’s bar and whiskey,” he said.

Meanwhile, Twister Distillery, just down the street from Scissortail, has just installed a new copper still and is focusing all of its efforts on gourmet vodka, said Alvin Philipose, who bought out the other partners in the distillery, including Janko, last year. Twister now has the capacity to produce up to 3,000 cases of vodka in a month and could possibly look at expanding to an new location next year, Philipose said.

Philipose has partnered with Jeff Thurmon, who previously worked for Austin-based Tito’s Handmade Vodka to move forward with his vision for the Twister brand.

“Our goal is to start from scratch, make it a premium vodka that is 100 percent organic, 100 percent gluten free - a little bit more of a luxury brand,” Philipose said.

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Information from: The Oklahoman, https://www.newsok.com


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