SoDak Stories: Bickering Brothers Distillery - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

SoDak Stories: Bickering Brothers Distillery

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The perfume of yeast hits you at the door, and your ears buzz from the constant whir of mixing.

"What we're stirring in here is a corn flour. Corn is full of starch," said A.J. Rounds.

He's the master distiller at Bickering Brothers.

"I do all the distilling, the mashing, the bottling, barreling, and blending."

The Jack-of-all-trades has been crafting vodkas, whiskeys, and brandies with his dad, Tom, for the past few years.

The idea for a distillery started back in 2006. Tom's brother, Jamison, had been traveling in Europe and talked tom into buying a copper still.

"He gets back here and says 'Oh, by the way it's illegal to have one in the state. That's just a down payment. And, you got to find a location for it and you won't get it until next year. It's over in Germany. It's a German made still. It's in Switzerland right now.' So, here starts the Bickering Brothers," said Tom Rounds.

A law change and a few arguments later, the Rounds' family determined the business would be best suited to Pierre - a prime spot for local resources like Missouri River basin water, grains, and fruit.

"Everything that we need to make good whisky is grown right here in South Dakota," said A.J. Rounds.

"The whole idea was to go from the field, close by, into the mill, into the distillery, and then into the bottle and out. As close to the farm as we can get," said Tom Rounds. "It's more expensive. It's a lot of hands-on. But, you get such a better product, and you know what you're getting."

Bickering Brothers has also partnered with other South Dakota businesses. They use Schade wine, produced in Volga, to make their neutral brandy.

"We're the only people in the world that we know that make it. And, as we tell people - one rock, sit by the fire pit and enjoy it. It's really good stuff," said Tom Rounds.

Along with using locally made products, Bickering Brothers sets itself apart by only distilling the very best cuts.

"Your heads are the first stuff that evaporates and you're higher alcohol like methanol. We throw it out. I use it to clean stuff. The next cuts are your hearts. That's the ethyl alcohol. That's the good stuff. That's what we end up bottling or aging and eventually drinking," said A.J. Rounds. "The third cut is your tails or lower alcohol. Lot of flavor, but bad stuff too. Sample it or dumped."

With great attention to appealing to people's palates Bickering Brothers business is picking up.

"As stuff is coming out I'm tasting it. I'm right here and involved in every step of the way," said A.J. Rounds.


Added Tom, "We should be in every liquor store and bar. If we're not we always say please ask for it. That's the only way we get it out there."

If you're interested in learning more about Bickering Brothers click on this link:

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