We are Arcana Spirits
Our mission is to create a new model for American manufacturing, promote the ancient art of distilling, and utilize the local bounty found in Missouri with our worker owned distillery to create premium rye whiskey and American applejack.
With respect toward the ancient alchemy of creating spirits, Arcana prides itself on sourcing local ingredients, distilling, aging, and bottling in one building. Our rye whiskey and American applejack were created to remind drinkers that craftsmanship and local ingredients don’t have to be expensive, but they do make the fundamental difference in taste.
St. Louis, a city steeped in a history of brewing, blue-blood, red-brick, and hard-work—surrounded by the American breadbasket of vast fields of fruit and grain, is the perfect fit for the creation of a distillery focused on a new way of doing business.
The founding members of Arcana have come together from a variety of backgrounds. After gaining several years of experience in brewing and distilling while also working as an operations manager for a few international non-profits, Nick decided to return to his hometown of St. Louis to start Arcana. He was followed by Sarah, the kind of person who loves paperwork and wrestling with bureaucracy for a good cause. The group was made complete when Pat joined with his local knowledge of the human capital and resources to be found in St. Louis, along with the craftsman style focus he shows in both his professional art and work.
No alcoholic spirit is more American than whiskey. It is a well known spirit that is inexpensive to produce, with much of the value provided from the aging process. Whiskey is made primarily from fermented and distilled grains. When people think of American whiskey, they typically think of corn-based products like bourbon. Historically, whiskey was made out of whatever grain people could grow locally, not what was the cheapest to grow on a factory farm. Arcana will make whiskey with rye and other local grains because it will allow for a more dynamic and interesting flavor profile. We will age whiskey not just in the traditional white oak, but also utilize cherry and apple wood.
Like good bread or good beer, a good whiskey should taste like the ingredients. Arcana will fully express the flavor and complexity of the wood. Arcana is excited to use grain, yeast, and smoked wood to make a product that has a depth of flavor that is more expressive than any other whiskey on the market.
Brandy is fermented and distilled fruit juice that will be distilled by Arcana as a showcase of the craft and art of distilling. Brandy is key to Arcana’s early game, and solves the need to generate revenue early in the business.
The founders of Arcana first learned about brandy on a visit to France, where it is regionally known as calvados. It is commonly known as half of the working man’s breakfast, (the other half being an espresso) and is aged in oak to take some of the bite off and also balance out some of the acidity of the apples.
Applejack is the American version of apple brandy, and was one of colonial America’s most popular drinks. Historically, any region that had a large amount of apple production had applejack. While applejack is similar to the French calvados, it generally is less refined and has a more rugged and sharp flavor brought upon by the tart apples.
As the popularity of locally produced fruits and hard ciders increases, many apple orchards that have been abandoned over the last 100 years are being revitalized. The old orchards are being renovated for modern production, and new orchards are being planted as local farmers are starting to move away from conventional corn and soy crops. The trend towards more diverse and traditional crops will help Arcana create a unique product.
Arcana's new home is on the Northside of St. Louis, Missouri. Nestled between industrial and residential neighbors, we are re-building and re-imagining an old American Legion Hall built in the 1950's. We have heard oral histories from those who remember the large dances and parties once held here. We are working with local architects to convert the space into a home for our thousand gallon tanks and room for barrel storage as our whiskey ages. We are working to make our new building as efficient and environmentally friendly as possible. No tours yet, but thank the 160 Friends of Arcana who attended our open house in June. We look forward to having another celebration and open house when construction is complete in late Fall, early Winter. Stay tuned for updates and invitations!
If you would like to receive updates about our process and products, please let us know, and we will send you exciting news and information about the distillery.