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Ed Pechar Makes Tasty Vodka From Miles Away

Nothing can keep Ed Pechar from his work, not even several hundred miles.
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photography by Kevin Hunter Marple

McCormick Distilling Co. has a long and storied history in Weston, Mo. Its predecessor firm was founded there more than 150 years ago and, in 1976, the distillery was named to the National Register of Historic Places. The company also has 150 acres and a 200,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Weston.

Which were all good reasons why, when Dallas businessman Ed Pechar purchased the liquor manufacturer in 1993, it wasn’t as simple as leasing a few floors of North Texas real estate and moving the headquarters 570 miles south. Because Pechar, a 38-year industry veteran who’s called North Texas home since 1984, wasn’t ready to move either. His family was here, as was his late business partner, Mike Griesser. So he stayed put, despite the challenges of a long-distance relationship.

After 15 years as an interstate executive, Pechar insists the miles haven’t hampered anything. When he can’t travel, Pechar and  his board merely teleconference via camera. It must be working: Pechar’s been able to triple the company’s annual revenue in his decade-and-a-half as chairman.

How’s he done it? By bringing a 150-year-old company into the 21st century. For example, Pechar recently introduced 360 Vodka—the world’s first “green” vodka—to the market, to add to the company’s lengthy list of alcoholic offerings. The ingredients, packaging, and processes used to make and bottle the drink are all environmentally friendly. But don’t call him a bandwagon-jumper. “We were already involved with the movement,” Pechar says, long before “being green” was the thing.

With favorable feedback just six months after 360’s introduction, Pechar sees greener pastures in the eco-friendly business landscape—in Texas, Missouri, and beyond.

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