Yes, we are brothers, born and raised in South Dakota.
We wondered why a distillery was not located nearer to the fruits and grains that were readily available in our home state.
We made beer and experimented with wine making. We tried various distillation techniques and researched products. We attended industry trade events and distillers’ classes.
Our concept was simple:
- Local fruits and grains direct from the fields to the facility, hand milled, fermented in a controlled environment using naturally purified waters from the upper Missouri River basin
- Batch distilled in the world’s best copper pot still.
- Quality, not quantity.
- Flavor, not flash.
- Local produce, not commodities.
It was so simple and obvious that, as brothers, we agreed to jump into the artisan distillery business by building and licensing our own distillery on a plateau north of the Missouri River, well off the beaten path in Pierre, South Dakota. We’ve been called the best artisan distillery that no one can find.
And so it began . . .
Did we mention that our concept started with two brothers agreeing?
Well, that’s where the next chapter begins. Location was one of the first disagreements. Old historic storefront business or practical business park facility. Rent or own? Used equipment or new equipment? Additional investors or additional financing? Who runs the late shift? Who files the reports? Paint color, trim style, bottle vendor, label style, product names, marketing decisions… the disagreements continued, but the first agreements were working:
- Local products
- Upper Missouri River basin water
- Small batches
- Extreme attention to details
Despite the ongoing disagreements, the first batches of brandy and whiskey were maturing – unaware of the bickering occurring outside of their oak barrel homes. A couple of years after the start-up, during the 236th disagreement (approximately, but who’s counting), an unaware and heretofore innocent bystander opined, “you guys bicker more than anyone I’ve ever known” and as the decibel level of our voices approached that of a normal discussion, another agreement occurred:
We are Bickering Brothers!
And with no further ado, we understood exactly who we were and how our products would be known from that point on. Some things are worth fighting for (or over).
“Bickering Brothers” is ready to share the fruits of our tests, re-dos, do-overs, and amazingly delicious final outputs after hundreds of battles, but never any lost love.
Our brand was named by an innocent bystander. Our reputation will be determined by you. Now that we know who we are, the agreements seem easier to come by.
While we bickered, our whiskey mellowed. Our brandies developed a very smooth and flavorful character unique to our process. In the end, our bickering allowed us to let the oak do its business without our interruptions.
Our loyal customers agree that something great did come out of our unique brotherly bickering. Our early battles are the source of our great products. We figure you can buy mass-produced spirits from corporate giants, or you can enjoy unique, “artisan” hand-crafted spirits made by brothers, after a little bickering.
Sometimes small is better. We think you will agree. After all, some things are worth fighting for.