Montclair Brewery Owner Wins Master Distiller Title on Discovery’s Moonshiners: Master Distillers

Montclair, NJ 𑁋Leopold (Leo) Sawadogo, co-owner and head brewer at four-year-old Montclair Brewery earned the highly coveted title on Wednesday, January 19th, during MOONSHINERS: MASTER DISTILLERS season 3, episode 9, “Shot of Redemption.”

Sawadogo went head to head against two other distillers in the liquor-making competition. In addition to bragging rights, Sawadogo will get the opportunity to have his winning Bao Brandy recipe created as a limited run through Sugarlands Distilling Co.

Leo Sawadogo of Montclair Brewery. Photo: Tony Turner Photos.

The episode was filmed in Tennessee, last fall and was the second time that Sawadogo appeared on the show. His first appearance on MOONSHINERS: MASTER DISTILLERS was season 2, episode 6, Spirit of the South, which first aired February 2020. During his first appearance, his jar of peach brandy did not muster up against the jars of the two other competitors and Sawadogowas sent home early. However, the judges saw something special in him and promised that they would have him back for a redemption episode. For the redemption episode each contestant was able to bring their own ingredients and distill their own recipe. Sawadogo, who is originally from Burkina Faso, West Africa, brought baobab powder from the West African baobab fruit to make his special winning recipe of his Bao Brandy.

“It is my favorite ingredient to work with and allows me to introduce my culture to the rest of the world,” says Sawadogo.

Sawadogo has been introducing the exclusive baobab fruit to those in the New Jersey and New York area since Montclair Brewery opened its doors in 2018. Montclair Brewery has brewed several craft beers including its award winning Baobiere Golden Ale, Black is Beautiful Stout, the special anniversary Baobiscus and an upcoming TomSank Revolution ale releasing in February.

The Discovery Channel series, is an offshoot of one of the channel’s most popular series, MOONSHINERS, and features America’s top legal and outlaw distillers in the ultimate booze-making competition to see who has what it takes to join the ranks of the greats and win the title of Master Distiller. The competition is usually judged by three legendary Moonshiners – Mark, Digger and Tim of Discovery’s MOONSHINERS. The show focuses on making a specific type of spirit, including American whiskey, rum, gin, mountain brandy, and mezcal among others. The contestants have to prove their knowledge of distilling and exhibit creativity as they convert raw ingredients into authentic, handcrafted spirits that will impress the most experienced distilling experts.


The show was aired for the first time on Wednesday on the DiscoveryPlus channel and can be replayed on DiscoveryPlus website at Moonshiners: Master Distiller – DSC GO (discovery.com) to subscribers and other streaming services such as Amazon Prime and Hulu.

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