In the spring of 1872 George M. Hoover loaded his wagon with whiskey barrels. He tied a bandanna to his wagon wheel and counted out exactly five miles west from the edge of Fort Dodge, Kansas, where the sale of liquor would be legal.
Hoover erected a tent bar, with only two sod pillars holding up a plank of wood for a bar, and began selling to the soldiers and travelers passing through. From there Dodge City became western Kansas’ largest trading post, leaving an indelible mark on American history, as well as pop culture. The distillery sits on top of land that used to be the original Boot Hill Cemetery. From 1873 until 1878, Dodge City’s gunfighters, scofflaws, and soiled doves were interred here when they met their unceremonious end.
In 1878 the bodies were moved to the municipal cemetery, and Dodge City’s first multi-room schoolhouse was erected. Known as the Third Ward school, it served the students of Dodge City until 1927. As Dodge City’s population grew and new schools were built, the Third Ward had served its purpose. The building was razed and planning began for what would become the Municipal Building - where we currently stand today.
When the building opened in 1929, it housed City Hall, municipal courtroom, judge’s chambers, jail, fire department and police department. Over the years it has also housed the Chamber of Commerce, Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, and charities.
Boot Hill Distillery’s story began in 2014 when western Kansas farmers Roger and Hayes Kelman and Chris Holovach decided to invest in western Kansas’ first-ever craft distillery. These three farmers produce every single grain that Boot Hill Distillery uses to craft our world-class spirits.
When considering location, Dodge City’s history - born from a barrel, forged in the dust - made it the obvious choice. The building’s location on top of the original Boot Hill Cemetery made it seem almost like fate.
Boot Hill Distillery is Dodge City's first and only soil-to-sip distillery. They grow 100 percent of the grain used in 100 percent of their products. Every product is also milled, mashed, fermented, distilled, and bottled on-site in the old City Hall on top of the original Boot Hill Cemetery.
The distillery utilizes a custom-crafted pot still/two column setup to ensure that every spirit is crafted for maximum drinkability, while still being a wholly unique product of Dodge City.
Each of the distillerys’s spirits are distilled in 500 gallon batches, carefully crafted from growth to harvest to milling to mashing to fermentation to distilling to bottling. The spirits are truly “from soil to sip.” From the moment the seed goes into the soil to the moment you pour our spirits into your glass, the Boot Hill Distillery team had full control over the final product, ensuring that every single bottle is the highest-quality spirit available anywhere in the world.
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