Founding father and first president of the United States George Washington did it. Many after him did it out of necessity. Farmers in the 1700’s and 1800’s found themselves with a dilemma. They were harvesting excess grain from their farms and couldn’t preserve or transport all of it before it succumbed to mold or rot. A solution they discovered was to mill, mash, ferment, and distill their corn and other grains to make a liquid alcohol that would come to be known as whiskey. Whiskey lasts much longer than raw grain and was easier to store and transport due to its condensed size. (Around this time farmers would have chopped down trees to fashion their own wooden containers to store whiskey.) When prohibition came along in 1920 farm distilling disappeared and never made much of a comeback, until now.
Whiskey Acres in Dekalb, IL is the first and currently only American Distilling Institute certified farm distillery in Illinois. As of today, one of only several in the country. Located on Walter Farms just 60 miles West of Chicago, Whiskey Acres embodies the traditional idea of a farm distillery. Operated by Jim Walter, his son Jamie, and their business partner Nick Nagele. The idea for the distillery came to them in 2011 after an Illinois law relaxing craft distillery regulation passed in 2010. After gaining all necessary permits, and overcoming local hurdles unique to their farm distillery setup, their copper still was up and running the week…
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