Meet Marquas “MarKaus” Ashworth, a Des Moines entrepreneur who’s combined his musical talent with rye whiskey production to form Ziyad, a whiskey distillery.

On each bottle of his Burn the Boats rye whiskey, buyers can scan a QR code and listen to his rap song by the same name.

While traveling across Iowa, MarKaus was inspired by the connections of the counterculture hip-hop scene and southern Iowa bootleggers who crafted the perfect rye whiskey recipe a century ago. Burn the Boats whiskey can be found in Des Moines-area Hy-Vee stores. In 2021, his whiskey is now available nationwide.

MarKaus, voted Iowa Artist of the Year 2017, is also the Producer and Founder of Media Fresh Records, where he produces not only his projects, but those of other musicians.