Join us at Lifted Spirits Distillery!

Road Trip!

Lifted Spirits – Kansas City, MO

On today’s Road Trip stop we are meeting up with Michael Stuckey – President, CEO, owner, and distiller of Lifted Spirits Distillery in the Crossroads Arts District of Kansas City, MO. Follow along as we cheers with a “Supernova Cocktail” and explore their operation & taste their delicious spirits, distilled from head and heart.

We had so much fun with Mike and hope whenever anyone in Tippler Nation is nearby they pay him a visit and support Lifted Spirits Distillery’s journey by bringing home a few bottles to build out delicious craft home bar of their own!

 

At Lifted Spirits, we raise the bar every time we raise a glass. Infused with curiosity, experimentation and wonder, the still is our playground. We tinker with tradition, use only the highest-quality ingredients and challenge ourselves to create exceptional spirits that do them justice. We began distilling as a hobby–celebrating with special-made batches for birthdays and family celebrations. Years later, that same intention still pours into every bottle and glass we fill. Our experienced, daring distillers create concoctions for the questioning, the curious and the playful. Our handcrafted blends and evocative flavors enliven and inspire memorable moments among the people who gather to enjoy them. We’re proud of our work crafting a fresh and exciting take on classic spirits, and we’re not afraid to talk about it. When it comes to our ingredients and our processes, we celebrate the science behind the spirits and a future of collaborative innovation. We invite you to join us, wet your whistle and sate your imagination. When you drink Lifted Spirits, you know it’s curiously crafted for good company.

Lifted Spirits

https://www.liftedspiritskc.com/

Lifted Spirits Distillery Highlights

00:08 – Intro & Welcome

00:28 – Outside the distillery

01:12 – ‘Supernova Cocktail’

01:20 – About the spirits

03:57 – ‘Bright’ Gin

04:28 – ‘Bold’ Gin

05:06 – Barrel Reserve #2 Gin

05:37 – ‘Supernova’ Navy Strength Gin

06:16 – Distillery tour

12:32 – Event space tour

14:47 – The tastings

14:51 – ‘Brilliant’ Vodka

15:48 – ‘Bright’ Gin

16:52 – ‘Bold’ Gin

17:57 – ‘Supernova’ Navy Strength Gin

19:14 – Barrel Reserve #2 Gin

20:44 – Wheat Whiskey

21:34 – Absinthe Verte

23:00 – Closing and thank you

23:41 – Outro

About Your Hosts

The Crafty Cask celebrates and supports craft alcohol makers through engaging consumer content, events, virtual tastings, and online education. We help craft enthusiasts drink better and craft makers market their brands better to build thriving small businesses that keep #TipplerNation drinking well!

Your hosts for this event, alongside the featured maker, are Suzanne Henricksen, Founder of The Crafty Cask and Evan Rothrock, sommelier, certified cider professional, mixologist, and bespoke wine tour guide.

Read the transcript

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Hi I’m Suzanne Henricksen, a researcher and storyteller by trade, and a world explorer, drink local enthusiast by heart. I’m traveling the world to celebrate and share the people the  

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process the stories and the innovations 
behind craft alcohol and I can’t wait to  

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share our amazing kinds with all of you 
so let’s get drinking Crafty Cask Style

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Welcome to Lifted Spirits Distillery we are 
here in Kansas City, Missouri and we are  

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so excited to head on inside and hang out with Michael the owner and distiller or he used to  

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be a lot of distilling before he had to focus 
on all of this craft distillery ownership stuff  

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so we’re gonna head inside and taste some of his spirits and head check out his distillery  

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and learn all about Lifted Spirits 
Distillery come on let’s go  

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[Michael] do you guys want to try a cocktail with a ‘Supernova’ that Derek made up yesterday?
[Suz] Sure, Love that!

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[Michael] Cheers everybody, thank you for coming
[Suz] Of course, thanks for having us
[Michael] Absolute pleasure, I love doing tours, which is part of why I opened a distillery

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[Michael] everything we have right now is uh 100 wheat based including our whiskey  

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[Suz] where does the wheat come from?
[Michael] the wheat for our whiskey comes from a farm in Bellsville, Kansas just 30 minutes  

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[Michael] just south from here

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[Michael] and then the base for the other 
ones is either a combination of that  

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with a soft light wheat it’s a softer 
Russian wheat for the whiskey
[Suz] okay  

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[Michael] and we use a combination of that and a I’m sorry it’s a hard red which rich wheat  

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[Michael] and then the base for our other ones is a soft white organic wheat from Kentucky  

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[Suz] yeah because I feel like the personality really comes through a little bit more so I’m excited, I’m excited to check that out

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[Michael] so walking through the products 
then, is our first is our ‘Brilliant Vodka’
[Suz] okay  

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[Michael] at first it was just Vodka and then we realized everything had a great name  

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[Michael] except for the vodka so we went back and when we opened we only had our vodka and our ‘Bright Gin’  

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[Michael] and two products because the whiskey wasn’t done yet, and went back and talking  

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[Michael] about the vodka what really came out and overall in who we are we keep going to the stars  

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[Michael] because that’s what we’re shooting for our distillery we want to be really  

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[Michael] creative and make new cohesive flavors so if like Calvin and Hobbes made a distillery we want  

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[Michael] we want to inspire them and then with the with the vodka it just shuns it just it shines it’s  

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[Michael] ethereal it’s light but it tastes you can get a little bit of it from those wheat containers and  

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[Michael] some apple a little bit of maybe banana 
some apricot which comes through really  

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[Michael[ well on the Whiskey but there’s just those hints of it to give the body to some soul  

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[Michael] and then the next our second release or I guess out of our two first ones was the ‘Bright Gin’  

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[Michael] this was 4 and a half years 
ago right. I was working on the ‘Bright Gin’ about 5 and a half years ago

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[Michael] I taught myself from just going to the library I’ve never took chemistry and have a background in it I’ve   

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[Michael] been wanting to make this and blend it to my friends because I fell in love with this idea that spirits  

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[Michael] were inherently communal there was a friend group who brought craft spirits and tried different  

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[Michael] cocktails and I wanted to make that and bring it to them so with the ‘Bright Gin’ I was taking some  

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[Michael] of these traditional recipes and tinkering with them trying to make them my own I realized I knew  

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[Michael] how to distill and I knew how to follow a recipe but I didn’t know why the recipe was the recipe  

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[Michael] so i took uh about 40 different botanicals that I could think of and I just told them in the Gin and distilled them individually

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[Michael] using uh either maceration or vapor distillation just to see what they did by themselves wow that’s  

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a quick experiment it was a lot of fun yeah then 
went back and put a couple botanical builds were  

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[Michael] covered by smell just to see what would happen and then make a ‘Bright Gin’ which is 100% vapor  

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[Michael] distilled okay um and we’re able to make cuts off of the distillation as we’re going to its most  

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[Michael] flavors in juniper you don’t normally get to taste and then the ‘Bold Gin’ was the next gin that we made  

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[Michael] uh it’s a really complex botanical gin so you’ll get like tingles of juniper with a little timber  

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[Michael] on the front of the tongue we macerate and also vapor distill so we have elderberry and  

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[Michael] barbary in the gin basket okay so it exposes rich dark berry flavors without it getting too tangy  

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[Michael] and puckery hence the bowls yes it is gin over 
them but it’s still not your grandpa’s handle  

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[Michael] it’s very complex so you’ll get a little bit of bright and some floral notes but not you know  

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[Michael] super flowery uh it’s very rich it’s very assertive, its bold. and then our third Gin up there  

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[Michael] is our ‘Barrel Reserve #2’ it’s so much fun I’m really excited about that we really want to  

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[Michael] you know keep exercising our creativity and so it’s number 2 because the second iteration of  

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[Michael] it uses the same botanical build as a ‘Bright Gin’ but distilled is an essence so very concentrated  

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[Michael] and it’s rested on our used Wheat whiskey barrels and on twelve-year-old Nicaraguan barrels so it’s  

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[Michael] got a fun sweet component to it good richness and then fourth Gin which was released this week is  

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[Michael] our ‘Supernova’ uh which uses some of those cuts that we were talking about on the ‘Bright Gin’ we  

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[Michael] don’t want to throw all that flavor away and so we keep the botanicals out of the gin basket and we  

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[Michael] keep those cuts and we re-macerate it and distill it as a traditional gin and it’s bottled with Navy  

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[Michael] strength and it’s called ‘Supernova’ because it’s just the brightest thing in the sky like it’s an  

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[Michael] explosion of flavor there’s so much to it honestly I don’t have marketing language about it now I’m  

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[Michael] just shooting from the hip here I haven’t gone through and refined it because it’s just so good  

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[Suz] yeah that’s right practice with us when we taste it we’ll we’ll for our marketing language

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[Michael] this is the uh, boiler, that we’ve uh pulled- so it’s gonna be taken out, it’s going bye-bye

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[Michael] and then all the mechanical that you see on the back wall, is going to replace it.

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[Michael] so we have uh now instead of having to try and maintain a you

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[Michael] know, 50 psi boiler which for us was introducing a lot of oscillations when you’re trying to distill the  

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[Michael] oscillation bad because then thermometer gets thrown off all the way through
[Suz] yeah  

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[Michael] so we were taking distillation runs that were going way longer than they needed to because there  

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[Michael] was always a state of um a state of unknowns inside the still and so getting the city steam  

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[Michael] service where we always have the right psi of I mean we always have high pressure steam coming  

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[Michael] in that it’s knocked down to 300 psi
[Suz] cool
[Michael] and provides infinite hot water for the building the  

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[Michael] little still that we have set up here this is Jill the Still- it’s just a little 113 liter Still
[Suz] I feel like I never hear female names for Stills I love that!

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[Michael] and so this is the still we use when we’re doing our ‘Bright Gin’ also some other experiments  

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[Michael] as we’re scaling them up uh it’s a direct uh heating element in there so we don’t use it for  

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[Michael] mash since we mill ferment and mash on the ring and so in here is where that neutral sphere we’ve  

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[Michael] made goes and then the gin basket here this large cylinder which surprises the basket yes

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[Michael] that’s where the botanicals are all suspended so as we’re distilling it again the vapor is going up  

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[Michael] through all those botanicals which extracts 
the flavor really quickly but really gently  

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[Michael] uh and allows us to take cuts off during the process because some of those compounds get cold and  

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[Michael] are still heavier than the temperature wants to be at so we fall at the bottom  

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[Michael] and then we just have a little condenser here and a little parrot and we distill that gin as a as an  

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[Michael] essence which is then later turned into the ‘Bright Gin’ as it’s proofed- This is our Mash Ton it’s  

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[Michael] named Hulk because “Hulk sMash” yes it doesn’t normally look this way uh we’re like I said in construction so  

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[Michael] there’s some pieces we’re working on the agitator on the big stove sure um but it’s just a- Custom  

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[Michael] Metal Craft made it it’s uh altered IVC with a you know pressed on steam jacket we do all of  

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[Michael] our heating for our large processes with steam I’d love to have a steam jacket for a little still too  

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[Michael] just because it’s so efficient like you wouldn’t think of like steam’s an old technology yeah  

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[Michael] like all the energy that goes into that last little bit that turns that liquid into a vapor  

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[Michael] when that vapor condenses on the 
surface it all goes right back in  

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[Michael] and so it transfers it just amazingly 
well – and uh this is Stella The Still

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[Michael] it’s uh hot hybrid still so uh with 
the first part we just have four trays if  

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[Michael] we’re doing like a Whiskey or a Brandy and then we use active paper active reflex management

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(indistinguishable conversation)

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[Michael] so what we did is uh because 
it’s a reflux management still  

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[Michael] we will not use the declinator at the top which forces condensation uh to fill the  

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[Michael] trays up so if we’re wanting to not refine it that much uh we’ll use it as a pass-through  

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[Michael] and not ever do stripping runs we actually have a two-inch line arm that comes off of the kettle  

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[Michael] that we can bypass it with okay so our options the way we pipe it together which this is built  

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[Michael] from modular components so we could you know have a still we could tinker with and now we’re at the  

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[Michael] point where we know exactly what we’re looking for and this one’s been refined down to work  

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[Michael] the way we work and it’s kind of just a bathroom we still… I love great things
[Suz] yeah really  

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[Suz] awe Stella
[Michael] she’s been through a lot
[Suz] how often are you running your stills- to keep up with  

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[Michael] we do everything in sprints
[Suz] okay
[Michael] so it’s not like we have a like this many times a month  

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[Michael] it’s more like on you know in a month we’ll run it every day for a month and  

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[Michael] then we’ll skip a couple months depending on what part it is yeah I think that’s yeah

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[Suz] and this is your lab huh?
[Michael]  yes so this is the lab yeah  

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[Suz] this is where all the magic happens 
the evil right now
[Michael] —was used today

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[Michael] we were distilling the experimental recipe for a Swiss Absinthe so a Verte Absinthe [Suz] oh I haven’t had a  

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[Suz] Verte I don’t think? have you had a Verte? 
[Evan] no I have not. [Michael] um so playing with that we also have  

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[Michael] you know some other like all sorts of experiments so if you look at like our shelves for example  

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[Michael] when we have new botanicals that come in we put them through a standard battery of tests  

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[Michael] and then we have a couple other 
products hanging out over there that  

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[Michael] we’ve been putting through development 
so that’s PRND- product and development

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[Michael] um and then like our next botanical is finished  

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[Michael] kind of finishing drying and hanging above me right now it’s just a following experiment

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[Michael] you know a couple of different ABVs and different distillations and macerations  

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[Michael] just to see what it does um so what is this flowering experiment [Suz] oh cool   

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[Michael] yeah we’ll put it through we usually have six base tests that are a variety of ABVs and then  

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[Michael] whether it’s macerated or either vapor distilled or macerated it’s the [Suz] magic wormwood and scared the  

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[Suz] scary scary magic warm wood but everything 
[Michael] no it doesn’t have to be it’s so beautiful  

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[Michael] so this is our event space and we call it A Loft because it was…a loft…so the building  

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[Michael] was built in the 1880s as a staple for a big old ski bakery that used to be across the street there  

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[Micahel] and honestly this is these two doors where they bought the hay and everything in and  

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[Michael] you can see right here actually when you got the building there was a pepper right here  

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[Michael] where they would drop everything down a big reason I wanted to then open up the  

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[Michael] distillery was selling Distiller 
years ago I was you know touring  

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[Michael] different distilleries and discovering 
that if you ask two points of a question

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[Michael] yeah these aren’t secrets right like 
I read about them this is the library yeah  

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[Michael] and I don’t know the way I’m wired anytime there’s a curtain like blocking something or there’s like  

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[Michael] Wizard of Oz stuff going on like I gotta rip that curtain down yeah and so I opened up I wanted to  

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[Michael] open a place and that’s why we have big old glass doors instead of just windows we love doing tours  

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[Michael] that was honestly one of the most painful things about COVID for my business is that I  

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[Michael] couldn’t keep just doing tours we offer free tours 5 days a week and we finally opened  

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[Michael] tours up again that we booked them online so we get to do them again like it’s actually  

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[Michael] back here again but I remember in the lab which is just back there underneath where my guests  

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[Michael] at that point I was down there working on what became our final Absinthe recipe  

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[Michael] and at the same time there was 
a wedding going on in the hammer  

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[Michael] and set up right above those windows and so I’m listening to this couple of do the say the vows

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[Michael] and I’m working on my Absinthe and I’m like “I really get to do this right now?”

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[Michael] like…”is this real life?”
[Suz] “is this my job?”

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[Michael] people used to live their lives around distilling

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[Michael] it was a place where farmers would gather and turn their crop into something that they  

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[Michael] could get to market yeah that they would enjoy together and then after prohibition it became  

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[Michael] dagger things go back to it being open yeah let’s do tours let’s hang out around the still

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[Suz] okay all right so ‘Brilliant Vodka’ tell us 
about this beauty (intelligible)

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[Michael] so it’s got a smooth finish uh it has great mouth feel and it should rest really well

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[Michael] a couple hints of uh, maybe some apple, some apricot

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[Suz] it is nice though we were talking 
earlier about how people talk about

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[Suz] Vodka has to be neutral, neutral yes, but that doesn’t mean flavorless, you know?

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[Suz] it doesn’t mean like water, you know? There is some character- it’s got the mouth feel to it

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00:15:36,451 –> 00:15:38,593
[Evan] especially really good

151
00:15:38,593 –> 00:15:46,670
[Suz] this is great! yeah it’s really fun I can see why you call it- that’s very light very fresh very kind of, yeah for sure!

152
00:15:48,123 –> 00:15:50,640
[Michael] this is a gin that we were 
just what we were just talking about people that  

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[Michael] have had all their options in all the wrong places uh we have a lot of folks that come in that are  

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[Michael] you know we’re in that place and this is the gin that can fulfill that relationship

155
00:16:04,801 –> 00:16:07,997
[Suz] it does not smell like a Christmas tree, ya know?

156
00:16:09,840 –> 00:16:13,306
[Michael] there’s some good orange notes on there and I feel like a little coriander

157
00:16:19,541 –> 00:16:22,014
[Suz] that’s my kind of Gin

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00:16:22,014 –> 00:16:35,302
(loud background noise and intelligible conversation)

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00:16:40,400 –> 00:16:41,934
[Michael] she’s not harsh, she’s not sharp

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00:16:53,613 –> 00:17:00,486
[Michael] Bold Gin! So this is gonna be that rich botanical
[Suz] even the nose on this punches like ‘okay!’

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00:17:00,486 –> 00:17:02,588
[Michael] it’s bold! It’s got a lot to it!

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[Michael] and then be sure to exhale

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00:17:07,120 –> 00:17:09,120
[Evan] retro nose nasal olafaction

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00:17:12,080 –> 00:17:21,841
[Suz] this is a little like peppery 
[Michael] so it’s that kind of peppercorn and that juniper on the front of the palette, rich berry on the outside

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00:17:28,304 –> 00:17:34,640
[Michael] and theres just a itty bitty- a little bit of lavender that uh most people wouldn’t pick out and really  

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00:17:34,640 –> 00:17:39,091
[Michael] that’s awesome that you can because it brings just a little dap on the mid-palette

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00:17:39,091 –> 00:17:44,662
[Evan] I feel like its more of a dry lavender essence

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00:17:58,160 –> 00:18:07,658
[Michael] so this is ‘Supernova’ so yeah, you’re gonna turn it, oh yeah look at all that oil

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00:18:08,456 –> 00:18:14,877
[Suz] it’s much more grainy, savory to me than the other two, like I don’t get as much (inaudible) coming through

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00:18:22,720 –> 00:18:23,970
[Michael] one in a minute

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[Suz] the beginning palette versus the middle palette versus the back palette it’s like transforming  

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[Suz] and as you’re swallowing it
[Michael] and then give it a good inhale and exhale through your mouth…it’ll change

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[Suz] I have to say for a Navy strain, it’s real smooth, yeah  

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00:19:00,000 –> 00:19:05,294
[Suz] I’ve had quite a few Navy Strains, and I always like them they’re like WOO

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00:19:05,600 –> 00:19:09,840
[Michael] yes that’s where I want to catch you (intelligible)

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00:19:11,378 –> 00:19:15,265
[Michael] So next, we’re gonna do our ‘Barrel Reserve #2’

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[Suz] this is another thing that I don’t really feel like we see a lot of, but when we do see it, we are always really excited about it

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[Suz] I feel like Barrel aged Gin, is like (inaudible)

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[Suz] if they think they don’t like Gin, start here.

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[Suz] this is so (inaudible) and a bit appley?…it tastes like apple

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[Suz] there’s something else that’s a little like……almost tea like

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00:19:54,143 –> 00:20:00,398
(intelligible)

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[Evan] with the ‘Barrel Reserve #2’ is…similar to the other three but then, is it the same barrel?

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[Michael] it is, it’s the same as the ‘Bright Gin’ it was distilled as an essence about three times…

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[Suz] it’s kind of weird that it kind of smells and tastes a little bit like creamsicle to me

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00:20:44,640 –> 00:20:48,880
[Michael] this next one is our wheat whiskey so want to reinforce that it’s 100%  

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[Michael] wheat whiskey it’s not bourbon there’s no rye or corn or barley in it it’s just wheat

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00:21:01,840 –> 00:21:07,026
[Suz] I love that wheat coming through it tastes like pie crust

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[Michael] especially how easy it is to be overwhelmed as a flavor

190
00:21:13,760 –> 00:21:19,588
[Michael] like treating it gently and bringing those those characteristics through it also letting them feel less

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00:21:19,588 –> 00:21:25,200
[Suz] um I am getting like especially 
now because that pie crust but I said  

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00:21:25,200 –> 00:21:30,381
[Suz] when I first got the nose and now I’m 
like this is like a cinnamon apple pie like in my mouth, but not sweet!

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00:21:35,160 –> 00:21:37,675
[Michael] So this is our Absinthe Verte!

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[Michael] so both of yours were prepared without sugar because I wanted to give you the full length  

195
00:21:44,560 –> 00:21:51,360
[Michael] so there’s a lot to do however there are strong black licorice notes because it’s that trinity of  

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[Michael] absinthe yes grand wormwood sweet fennel and green aniseed so you’ll get you know bitter savory sweet like altogether

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[Suz] it’s much less of a punch in the face of licorice than other Absinthe’s I’ve had, which I really appreciate

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[Suz] why don’t we line up all of these spirits now that we’ve tried them all all right

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[Suz] yeah beautiful Michael thank you so much for spending so much time with us today  

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I know you’re busy yeah I mean we’ve had so much fun and I know as a craft maker and an  

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owner of a distillery you’ll have a million 
plates start spinning at any given time  

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so we really appreciate you know 
taking the time to walk with running  

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distillery you take the time to let 
us taste through all this and really  

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we are super impressed yeah this has been really 
really fun and I love the whole idea of Lifted  

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Spirits and kind of elevating that experience 
with your spirits and I think your personality  

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00:23:18,880 –> 00:23:24,640
and your charm and your storytelling helps do 
just that I love finding fellow talkers like me

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00:23:26,800 –> 00:23:30,960
so thank you we’re excited to kind of hang out 
for more and I love that Danika lives here our  

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00:23:30,960 –> 00:23:38,945
digital content manager you know she is a 
regular and she’ll continue to support you guys, really good to hear your story

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00:23:39,120 –> 00:23:41,322
thank you so much
[Michael] thank you everybody!

 

Until next time… Drink craft and drink the world. Cheers!

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