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The popular Mississippi River Distilling Co. (MRDC) is expanding downriver to join a rebounding business area in downtown Davenport. The LeClaire distillery is purchasing the Artisan Grain Distillery business at 318 E. Second Street and plans to open a new cocktail house and production facility at that location this summer. Founded in 2010, MRDC will maintain all its current operations in LeClaire including its production facility, cocktail house and its recently opened Celebration Center event venue. “We were getting tight on space in LeClaire and started looking for opportunities,” said MRDC owner Ryan Burchett. “This building already has distillation equipment in place and is accessible for the kinds of deliveries we need going in and out.” He told the QCBJ that the distillery is renting the downtown Davenport building but has plans for $350,000 in renovations. “We are renovating the front of the house to accommodate the cocktail house and the back into production and warehouse. The Drawing Room cigar bar in the middle will remain and expand a bit.” The Drawing Room is independently owned. Renovations to the new location are being handled by Streamline Architects, East Moline, and Davenport contractors Hawkeye Electric and McArtor Construction. Ryan Burchett said a second retail location only became possible after recently passed legislation in Iowa. “As we started looking at our options to gain more space, it just made sense,” he said in a news release. “If we’re going to have a second location, it might as well be a place that allows more people to enjoy our stuff.” His brother and co-owner Garrett Burchett said MRDC patrons will be excited about an additional location. “We have so many fans in the Quad Cities who like to come to LeClaire every now and then, but the drive keeps them from enjoying our cocktails at other times. So we’re bringing the cocktails to town with a second cocktail house location,” he said in the release. The Mississippi River Distilling Co. owners also are excited about joining the downtown Davenport lineup. “This is a corridor of downtown that is really on the up and up,” Garrett Burchett added. “New streetscaping and revitalized buildings on both sides of the street will make this area a wonderful entertainment destination.” The MRDC expansion is receiving help from the Downtown Davenport Partnership (DDP) improvement grant program and the City of Davenport’s small business loan program. “Davenport is doing a great job of making opportunities available to help draw small businesses downtown,” Ryan Burchett said. “We look forward to working with community partners to make this project a reality and be a part of this renaissance downtown.” The hope is to open the new location in June, “but it all depends on equipment availability,” he added. Kyle Carter, executive director of DDP, an initiative of the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce, applauded MRDC’s expansion as “a welcome addition to our growing family of the Quad Cities’ best and most-beloved local brands. Their new facility is a perfect fit on East Second Street, and we’re eager to see MRDC bring its unique character and top-notch product to the neighborhood,” he said in the release. Artisan Grain Distillery remains open and customers can buy their products downtown through the end of March or on store shelves as long as they last, Ryan Burchett said. He added that MRDC will hire about a dozen new employees – including Artisan’s sole employee – right away. Positions as managers, bartenders and servers now are available. “We have the luxury of bringing people on board now and training them in LeClaire so we’re ready for opening,” he said. For more information or to submit an application, visit www.mrdistilling.com.