Evanston city officials gathered Thursday to toast the successful launch of the city’s first micro-distillery.

Few Spirits, owned by Evanstonian Paul Hletko, started distilling liquor in April and bottled its first product in June.

Working from a former auto repair shop in an alley at 918 Chicago Ave., the distillery distributes its products locally at Pete Millers, Oceanique, Union, SPACE, Koi, Bistro Bordeaux, Cellar, Stained Glass, and Prairie Moon.

Hletko says city officials helped him work through various licensing and zoning issues to open the business this year, just a year after state licensing laws were changed to permit such businesses in Illinois.

Alderman Melissa Wynne, whose 3rd Ward includes the distillery site said, “It’s exciting that an Evanston resident has turned his passion into a business.”

Hletko also offers tours of the facility, and not just to aldermen.

Top: Few Spirits Brand Ambassador Brooke Saucier and owner Paul Hletko talk about the distillery operation with Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl and Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward. (Photo by Jan Smith)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. is this sold retail?

      Does this distillery sell its products directly to consumers by the bottle, or only through restaurants? Enquiring minds want to know.

    Their website lists only two products :  gin and white whiskey 

    1. Try Schaefer’s

      I was at Schaefer's Liquors last weekend during their Harvest Fest and FEW was there giving out tasting samples, so you can probably buy it at Schaefer's. They only had Gin and Whiskey at the event. I tried the Gin and it was yummy.

    2. Yes, I have bought both the

      Yes, I have bought both the white whiskey and the gin directly from them at the distillery.  Stop by, take a tour and take home a bottle-they also have a few other items for sale. 

  2. List of retail

    Currently FEW is just whisky and gin, but there will be a couple more options in the coming weeks. Below is a link with a list of their retail locations in the area:


    Inquiring minds should swing in over at the distillery tonight between 6 and 6:30 for a "Tour de Few" where the group will walk to various locations in Evanston where the spirits are sold. It should be a pretty good time and a great way to warm up on this chilly autumn day!

    I also recommend that people follow their facebook page for more current and upcoming information on the brand, their locations, and events they will be at.



  3. Retail

    Few Spirits are indeed available retail and behind the bar at many establishments.  You can always check fewspirits.tumblr.com for a full list, but in the Evanston area, we are sold at Schaefers and at Taste Food & Wine in Rogers Park.  Behind the bar, we're at most of Evanstons' finest – Oceanique, SPACE, Union, Koi, Pete Millers, Cellar, Prairie Moon, Stained Glass, Bistro Bordeaux, Bluestone, and at the distillery where you can get a tour and see what all the fuss is about.



  4. Drink local!

    It is certainly encouraging to hear about new businesses, like FEW Spirits, opening up in Evanston. They are already making great products. In their first couple of months of operation, they have won a silver medal at BTI’s gin tasting for the Few American Gin and they also won a Double Gold for Few White Whiskey from the New York World Wine & Spirits competition.

    In this time of outsourcing and consolidation, it's great that these business have found a niche for themselves and are being recognized in the industry. A city supports something 'uniquely Evanston' also helps 😉

    BTW, they're also being served at various bars in Chicago. Congrats! and keep up the great work!

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