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August 21, 2017


Chicago Distilling Company

Legend tells of North Woods moonshiners smuggling spirits through secret Chicago tunnels. Today this legend lives on, in Chicago’s North Side.

Image courtesy of IOT

Pouring gin into a barrel to age at the Chicago Distilling Company.

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Meet Chicago’s DiPrizio family - Noelle, Jay and Vic. Entrepreneurs, whiskey enthusiasts, and heirs to a trove of family recipes, cooked long ago in copper stills under moonlit Wisconsin skies, and delivered through secret tunnels to Chicago’s gin joints and speakeasies.

Ask anyone who has toured their distillery in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood. They’ll tell you the Chicago Distilling Company is still a family-owned business, honoring the Prohibition heritage of Noelle’s legendary bootlegging grandfather Shorty DiPrizio, even as it redefines the future of handcrafted botanical spirits, and the city’s most delicious cocktails.

The next time you’re on Chicago’s North Side, swing by the Chicago Distilling Company and knock on the door. It’s not a secret knock. In fact, you don’t have to knock at all, unless you want to imagine yourself in the muddy boots of a North Woods moonshiner.

Here you can watch the processes each recipe undergoes as it’s distilled, crafted, bottled and packaged by hand in full view — as opposed to hidden behind a grove of hemlock and pine trees like back in the day. Each small batch recipe is an extension of a family distilling tradition that dates back to before the Great Chicago Fire, meticulously crafted with organic grains sourced from the fertile soil of Illinois within a few hours’ drive of the distillery.

Vic and Jay DiPrizio love to talk whiskey. And they’ll gladly share their knowledge over one of their classic concoctions with names like Shorty’s White Whiskey, Finn’s Barrel Finished Gin, and Blind Tiger Bourbon. Gathered around a table, you can taste samples poured straight from the still. By the end of your distillery tour, and after one of their prized cocktails, you’ll understand the handcrafting expertise that goes into making white lightning, and the difference between Bourbon and Rye Whiskey.

You can almost see Shorty smiling as he stirs another batch of sweet corn mash up in the North Woods, knowing his legend lives on.

Discover more Illinois Artisans at Illinois Made.


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