When the seasons change and the cooler weather arrives, fans all over Iowa begin looking for their favorite sweet Iowa delights: Iowish Cream Liqueur and Iowa Coffee Company Liqueur. The cordials are a collaboration between Mississippi River Distilling Company in LeClaire, Iowa and the Iowa Coffee Company in Runnells, Iowa.
These two Iowa businesses have been partnering over the last five years to bring these unique flavors of the season to Iowans. Iowa Coffee Company Liqueur started things off in 2011. In 2014, the two introduced Iowish Cream Liqueur as well. The spirits have become staples at holiday gatherings and as unique gifts from Iowa.
“Our whole business is about being local. We take local grain and make it into spirits. We’re always looking for other ways to incorporate other local ingredients.” Ryan Burchett, MRDC owner and distiller, says. “We were really excited that we knew someone in Iowa who was an experienced artisan coffee roaster.”
Iowa Coffee Company (ICC) owner Tom Sibbernsen has been roasting coffee for over 20 years. Sibbernsen originally got started in the coffee business with a friend in Omaha and then moved back to his roots in Iowa to start ICC. He had a coffee shop inside of Des Moines Mercy Hospital for 11 years and now sells his sought after beans through his website and at the popular downtown Des Moines farmer’s market.
“I thought the collaboration was a great idea,” Sibbernsen remarks. “The reason I named my business ‘Iowa Coffee Company’ was not only because Iowa is where it was founded, but also because my business mission is to represent the core values of hard work, honesty, and friendliness that are characteristic of our state. I know the team at MRDC shares those values as well.”
Burchett says there aren’t many local artisan coffee roasters in Iowa and he was really excited about what Sibbernsen was bringing to the market. “We thought it would be a great partnership to take fresh, locally roasted beans and combine them with our local farm fresh spirits.”
“This was a great opportunity to collaborate with another locally focused Iowa business and combine our products to create something completely new,” Sibbernsen says. “It’s very satisfying to see ICC’s name not only on a coffee bag, but teamed with MRDC on a bottle. Partnerships like this are a great way to help two quality businesses producing local artisan products expand their customer base within the state of Iowa.”
Both spirits start with MRDC’s River Pilot Vodka which is made from 100% Iowa corn. It is infused with Iowa Coffee Company’s hand roasted Peruvian blend coffee beans. During the process, real cinnamon and vanilla are added along with sugar to make this unique liqueur. That finished product is bottled as Iowa Coffee Company Liqueur. That same liqueur is then added to a real dairy cream base to create Iowish Cream Liqueur. This cream liqueur gives a light coffee flavor to the delicious cream base.
“The Iowish Cream has really taken off. We are already on our fourth batch of the year and it has only been out for two months” Burchett said. “The funny name turns head to start with. But once people get into a bottle, they are finding it is the taste that keeps them coming back again and again. It’s really a delicious treat.”
The products are available to liquor stores all across Iowa during the fall. Iowa Coffee Company Liqueur can be ordered from the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division using order number 74776. The order number for Iowish Cream is 80236.