The Evanston City Council is scheduled to vote tonight on an ordinance that would permit the establishment of craft distilleries in the city.

As described to the Liquor Control Review Board last month by Paul Hletko, an owner of Few Spirits, a new business seeking such a license, a micro-distillery would manufacture small batches of high quality whiskey and gin in the city, provide tours and have a tasting room where people could sample the products after their tour.

Hletko, a patent attorney and Chamber of Commerce board member, said he has spoken to several aldermen who seemed to favor the plans.

Approval of the ordinance tonight would only create a mechanism for authorizing craft distilleries in the city. The proposal for Hletko’s business would be subject to further review.

Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl indicated at the liquor board meeting that she favors the micro-distillery concept.

City Attorney Grant Farrar says the ordinance is patterned after a state statute Governor Quinn signed in July authorizing craft distilleries. The law was designed to open up to distillers marketing opportunities similar to those provided small wineries and breweries.

It includes provisions requiring the distillery’s staff to complete an alcohol sellers training course and limits the hours of operation and the quantity of samples the distillery could provide to customers, among other things.

The text of the proposed ordinance is available online.

The craft distillery concept reportedly has caught on in Oregon and Washington state and other places.

Update 10:55 a.m. 10/12/10: The City Council voted to introduce the new craft distillery liquor ordinance provision and amendments to the zoning ordinance to set areas where distilleries could operate Monday night. Final approval is expected at the council’s next meeting on Oct. 25.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Vodka in Evanston

    This is a good idea.  There is a distillery that makes Bakon Vodka , a potato vodka with a bacon flavor.

    I think that this proposal on distilleries in Evanston, along with the recent legalization of chickens in Evanston, will bring about an even greater idea:   Chicken Flavored Vodka.    The market for this will be unlimited.

  2. home brew?

    How about craft brewers as well?

    I would love to see one of these open in Evanston.

    Do craft brewers fall into this provision?

  3. Beer & distilling

    The proposal does not cover breweries or brewpubs, which are the subject of a different ordinance under consideration.  Another ‘college’ town with distilleries and brewpubs is Madison, WI.

  4. Was hoping for a brewpub or brewery

    A distillery is not a brewery, as far as I can tell. Beer would be a much more appropriate product than hard liquor. I do, however, lovbe the idea of chicken-flavored Vodka by another poster!

Leave a comment
The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *