With neighborhood brewery Revolution growing in size and popularity, we’ve got the whole craft beer thing covered. Next up? Craft spirits. Chicago Distilling Company (@ChiDistilling, 2539 N. Milwaukee Ave.), a family operation headed up by brothers Jay and Victor DiPrizio and Jay’s wife Noelle, is in the process of building out a distillery and tasting room on Milwaukee just south of Fullerton.
Distillery, Tours & Tasting Room
All spirit production will take place on site, with a large still in the center plus milling machines and an aging room in the back. The public will be invited for tours and education on the distillation process.
Up front will be a bar, several tables and garage door openings for patrons to enjoy cocktails in the open air, but as Jay explains, the main focus will be on producing spirits. The DiPrizios originally planned to move forward strictly with the distillery portion of the project, but Alderman Moreno encouraged them to proceed with a full liquor license to invite neighbors in for samples of their product. The company also will have a small retail space up front to sell spirits and bar equipment—ancillary products that might be otherwise tough to find.
The DiPrizios plan to invite members of Logan Square’s now notorious craft cocktail culture in to fuel the tasting room menu. “We hope to feature cocktails from some of the excellent bars in the neighborhood on a quarterly basis,” says Jay. “With cocktails ‘on pour,’ we’ll be able to really showcase the city to those visiting from the suburbs or out of town. We don’t want to compete with the great bars in this neighborhood; we want to embrace them.”
Family Recipe from the Northwoods of Wisconsin
Although this is the DiPrizios’ first venture into the hospitality industry, there is a long family history behind the product. “We fell into distilling when I started dating my wife,” says Jay. “We visited her family up in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. For generations, these guys distilled using their own recipe, not to mention making their own wine, beer and syrup.” From there, the three took those techniques and began experimenting in their garage. In 2010, when the laws on distillation were altered, they founded Chicago Distilling Company.
Since then, they have been waiting it out for the perfect space and finally settled on the Logan Square location when the units in this building suddenly became available. Formerly a printing shop, this building is set to become quite the neighborhood destination in the next several months, with projects including Radler and D.A.S., Scofflaw’s new venture and rumors of a project from a “famous chef” in one of the other available spaces.
Spirits: Vodka, Whiskey, Amaro & More
Although brown spirits are their main interest, the Chicago Distilling Company team plans to work with five to six spirits at a time. Because the distilling process is faster for vodkas, they’ll start with two of these—one straight, another on the “more interesting side”—details to come. They’re also working on a chef collaboration for an amaro recipe based on the bittersweet Italian herbal liqueur.
“We’ll have our go-to products, but we’re really looking forward to the experimental side—to create our own apothecary house line,” says Jay. Grains for the product line will be 100 percent organic and sourced from Illinois farmers.
They expect to start moving equipment in soon. Currently the holdup is the federal permit, which the DiPrizios hope to obtain in the next several days. Given that time frame, they’re hoping to be open for business in late July.