Chicago distilleries are at the forefront of micro-distillation. With establishments ranging from very traditional to modern influenced, each and every distillery has something unique to offer.
On top of just enjoying their bottled spirits, the majority of the establishments also offer tours, a tasting room, and even food menus.
FEW Spirits was like a knight in shining armor when it first opened its doors. They rose up during the time when alcohol was at the forefront of debate across the nation. In time of prohibition, FEW Spirits established the city’s first licensed distillery. Chicago had ended prohibition on alcohol, but Evanston was home to many influential advocates for Prohibition. They had kept the city free from alcohol for 100 year; the only reason that changed was because of FEW Spirits’ Master Distiller [Paul Hletko]. Their passion for spirits has allowed them to create exquisite creations and overcome the alcohol discrimination in their area
CH Distillery sets itself apart in the sense of it feeling like a very modern distillery. Many establishments pride themselves on the old-fashion feel, CH took the opposite approach. They take pride in their traditional distilling influences, but they also infuse them with new procedures, which really sets their spirits apart. Their establishment is heavily influenced by modern design and truly brings an upscale atmosphere to their distillery; it is a unique atmosphere when compared to other Chicago distilleries. They provide a full cocktail bar and menu to accompany your visit.
This distillery is the effect of an Austrian experience in the 70’s. This family-owned and operated business is run by a father/daughter team, Charlie and Jenny. They hold family and community very high on their priority scale. Every aspect of their business seems to be tied as closely to a family member, friend or outsourced to a local business as possible. With its location in the heart of the Industrial District of Chicago, their tasting room is a must stop whenever you find yourself in the area.
North Shore Distillery
North Shore Distillery was the first artisanal distillery in the Chicago area and in Illinois in general. They have a very small operation, which allows them to have unparalleled quality and attention to each an every detail that goes into their spirits.They aim to create, “an elegant and superior spirit that is not only pleasant and enjoyable, but also provides a level of satisfaction that compares to drinking an incredible wine or the finest scotch.”
KOVAL Distillery prides itself on being a completely organic distillery. Local farmers are contracted out to grow all the grain necessary for the spirits, to on-site milling and mashing, distilling, bottling, and packaging. They have won many international awards; their most recent was for their Rye Whiskey [1st Place Whisky International 2013].
Tailwinds Distilling Co.
This family owned and operated distillery is nicknamed “the hangar”. Their main focus is on rum, due to one of the founders [Toby Beall] spent a lot of time in the Caribbean as a pilot. He became entranced by the full flavored rum that the island produced and he wanted to recreate that flavor from his ‘hangar’ in Illinois.
Copper Fiddle Distillery
The Copper Fiddle Distillery is the co-creation of two friends that had a vision. With craft brewing and distilling sweeping the USA, they dove in head first. The name originated from an heirloom that has been passed down through the Rieger family for 107 years. With every passing year, their fiddle sounds better and they believe the same premise goes for the taste of their spirits. With midwest sourced grains and everything completed in-house, you will surely be hearing more about the Copper Fiddle Distillery.
Journeyman Distillery prides them selves on the deep family ties that lie within the distillery. Much of the decor and construction of the distillery was rescued from buildings that the family has ties with. To further its fascinating history, it is located in the EK Warren Historic Featherbone Factory, in Three Oaks, Michigan. They pride themselves on their organic recipes, which have led them to obtain the MOSA (Midwest Organic Services Association) Certified Organic Seal. Within their building from the 1800s, they distill, bottle, label, and package each spirit.
Chicago Distilling Company
This distillery is made up of a family of third-generation distillers. They aim to recreate what Chicago distillers began in the 1800s, as well as what their forefathers were cooking under the moonlit sky in Wisconsin’s North Woods. Rather than hiding the distilling process from onlookers, like their predecessors, they pride themselves on their tours. With a focus on just three products in total, each one is crafted to perfection.
Quincy Street Distillery
Quincy Street Distillery prides itself not only on their craft spirits, but also the heritage that surrounds them. Located in Riverside, IL [which is now a National Historic Landmark], visiting this distillery also offers you a glimpse of the late 1800s when Chicago began to fully boom. They hold true to the classic traditions of distilling, but they do not fear incorporating their creative side into each and every spirit that they bottle.