Just a few years after founding Twister Distillery in Moore, Garrett Janko has sold his stake in the company and started a new distillery just down the street.
Located in the same industrial park in Moore as Twister, Scissortail Distillery is the only company in the state now making bourbon, as far as Janko knows. Scissortail Bourbon hit liquor store shelves in Oklahoma on May 1 and Janko already has sold 320 cases.
Janko’s two stills are situated in an industrial garage space with a concrete floor and walls that are mostly bare except for a banner bearing the Scissortail logo that hangs above a stack of wooden casks where the bourbon and rum are aged.
While Twister has focused its efforts primarily on making vodka, Janko is concentrating at Scissortail on bourbon and rum.
“I wanted to focus on the whiskey and bourbon market and rum,” Janko said.
Although Oklahoma is only home to a handful of distilleries, there’s ample demand for Oklahoma-made spirits, Janko said.
“We like to beat our own drum in Oklahoma and it doesn’t hurt that it also tastes really, really good,” Janko said.
Although Oklahoma has never been known for making bourbon, it turns out the state’s erratic climate is good for aging the spirit, Janko said. Unfortunately it’s not so great for the oak casks, which can swell or shrink — and leak — depending on the humidity and temperature.
The mash for the bourbon is made with corn, barley and rye; about 90 percent of the ingredients come from Shawnee Milling Co. and are grown in Oklahoma, Janko said.