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Elysian Desert Distilleries - A Southwestern distillery with Midwestern roots

08/10/2020 On this page find out about a Southwestern distillery with Midwestern roots

In 2016 Renea McQuiggan, third generation Kansas farm land owner and resident of Arizona began exploring potential opportunities that could possibly incorporate products from the farm. Together with her husband Michael, a long-time connoisseur of fine scotch and whisky, decided to explore using the grains produced on the farm to open a distillery and create premium spirits that they could enjoy and share with others.

Renea and Michael started their journey by attending Moonshine University, in Louisville Kentucky. Moonshine University taught them all facets of opening and operating a distillery and they made many contacts in the Kentucky distilling industry that they have partnered with to help bring their vision to a reality. The idea of using the grain from the family farm was the catalyst to begin exploration and taking the next steps to create a line of products. Elysian Desert Distilleries (Elysian) was incorporated in March of 2017. Elysian is a woman owned and Family operated company with Renea as President and Abigail Merritt, Renea’s daughter, Vice President. 

Michael brings his wealth of knowledge in opening and operating a business along with his passion and love for premium spirits to bring Elysian to life. Stuart, Abigail’s husband, is learning the blending and bottling process as well as supports Elysian’s sales efforts. Abigail came up with the idea of creating a vodka product line based on the Chakras. So Elysian Trademarked “Chakra Vodka” and “Spirits with your Spirit in Mind”. The team then spent over a year developing 7 flavors of premium vodkas that coincide with the ingredients that represent each Chakra. The results are amazing flavors of vodka that don’t need mixers in order to enjoy the product line. Renea and Abigail have both said from the beginning – “We want the product to be aligned and reflect the various chakras. If we wouldn’t drink the vodka flavors by themselves, then it isn’t the product for us”

While all that was happening with the vodka, Renea and Michael developed a premium Bourbon product. Renea and Michael with much sampling and tasting landed on a blend that consists of 75% corn, 21% rye and 4% malt. This blend is smooth to drink with hints of caramel and vanilla. With careful attention to detail “Carefree Bourbon” was distilled offsite in Indiana and placed in new charred oak barrels, it sat for 2 + years waiting for the opening of our Carefree tasting room. 

Our barrels are then delivered to our Distillery in Carefree AZ where it is blended, bottled and labeled by hand at the company distillery in Carefree AZ. We had many friends, family and loved ones involved in the tasting of the Bourbon and we are forever grateful to those that have helped and supported us in the tastings and along this journey.

Chakra Vodka was introduced to the market towards the end of 2019 and is starting to have a following of its own.  Watch for this delightful line up of vodka with seven unique flavors on store shelves soon. 

Chakra is derived from the Sanskrit word meaning “wheel” or ‘circle.” Chakras are dynamic energy pockets that control and energize the vital organs of the body both physical as well as mental. This high-end premium vodka is for the connoisseur to sip and enjoy, and symbolizes the total alignment of all 7 Chakras.

Ascension Premium non-flavoured Gold Medal
Root Red Apple & Ginger Root Bronze Medal
Sacral Peach & Hibiscus Bronze Medal
Solar Plexus   Pineapple & Rosemary Silver Medal
Heart Green Tea, Mint & Macha Silver Medal
Throat Honey & Lemon Blam Silver Medal
Third Eye Grapefruit & Lavender Silver Medal
Crown Lychee, Coconut & Jasmine    Silver Medal

Carefree Bourbon hit the market in March 2019 and since that time has received the 2020 Silver Medal for the 90 Proof and a 2020 Bronze Medal for the 118 proof (limited run) from the American Distilling Institute. Chakra Vodka also won a gold medal at the 2020 Bartenders Spirits Awards.

You can buy the vodka from Mission Wine and Spirits and The Grill on Main Street in La Quinta in Los Angeles.

3rd Annual Sommeliers Choice Awards submission is now open. The wine industry is collectively looking to plan for 2021 and Sommeliers Choice Awards hopes to provide a platform to help producers and importers not just assess their wines, but crucially go on to promote them.


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