Bowers Distillery, Inc. is located 45 miles southeast of Pierre, near West Bend Recreation Area on the Missouri River. Locally, the Bowers’ farm is referred to as the “Mint Farm.” The Bowers have produced mint oils for 5 generations. They moved to South Dakota in 1980 from western Oregon. They produce native spearmint, scotch spearmint, peppermint, white popcorn, yellow popcorn, soybeans and corn. The Bowers grow popcorn for Jolly Time (American Popcorn Company). The farm is a family operation. Kent and Annie frequently give tours of the farm. Isaac runs the farm’s guided pheasant hunting. Through her own business, Alecia sells three types of mint oil as well as MotherUp, a livestock grafting spray which helps a foster or natural mother accept young orphan calves, colts, goats, and lambs. www.motherup.com The long time farming team also includes full time team members Joel, Beau, Zak, Wayne, Bud, and Ann.
The mint harvest is normally during July, August, and September. The mint is cut in the field with a swather. After drying it is chopped with a forage harvester and blowing into sealable mint wagons. Steam extraction is used to separate the volatile oil from the mint leaves while the chopped mint plants remain in the wagon. Pure mint oil is highly concentrated. Just 10 drops of peppermint oil makes a gallon of strong peppermint ice cream. Peppermint extract is almost all alcohol with only a small amount of actual peppermint oil. The mint oils produced with care by the Bowers Family are used primarily to create things with a clean and fresh mint flavor. Large supports of the American mint industry include Mars Wrigley Confectionery and Colgate Palmolive.