Raise Your Spirits By Visiting These 6 Chicago Distilleries

Chicago is a city that knows how to have fun. It is home to a booming artisan distillery scene producing an array of liquors, from small-batch bourbon to rye whiskey, vodka, and botanical gin. Many distilleries here offer tours where you can try some tasty spirits as you witness the science behind your favorite drink.

A Brief History of Chicago Distilleries

Chicago distilleries reflect the territory, history, and traditions of its people, and a tour can be a unique way to immerse in the neighborhood’s cultural heritage. The city was the epicenter of the temperance movement that led to Prohibition in 1920. However, even with the Prohibition, Chicago’s distilleries never paused. Massive production of illegal moonshine gave rise to Al Capone’s speakeasies. Today, the city is home to over 25 distilleries offering spirit-tasting tours to visitors. Get ready to sip, savor, and discover the hidden gems as we tour six top Chicago distilleries.

1. Chicago Distilling Company

  • Location: 2359 North Milwaukee Avenue

Located in the heart of Chicago’s nightlife neighborhood of Logan Square, Chicago Distilling Company started as a small garage distillery in 2010. It has since grown into a fully-fledged operation making stellar drinks, including absinthe, whiskey, bourbon, vodka, and craft gin. A tour of the facility is an excellent opportunity to learn about the distillation process, the distillery’s history, and the ingredients used in their spirits. Tastings take place inside the distillery, where everything is done by hand, from label placements to the numbering of the bottles. Sample a range of their delicious drinks, including the epic barrel-aged Finns gin crafted from 11 botanicals, including Szechuan pepper, hibiscus, and cardamom.

2. Few Distillery

  • Location: 918 Chicago Avenue, Evanston,

A short train ride from the imposing Chicago downtown skyscrapers will take you to Few Distillery, one of the first whiskey distilleries to open in Chicago post-Prohibition. The distillery offers an intimate view of the whiskey-making process, from sourcing and sorting ingredients to mashing fermentation, distillation, and barrel aging. Their tours are led by skilled guides who walk guests through a casual wood-paneled bar with half a dozen spirits to try served in unique glasses. You will be encouraged to sniff and swirl the glass before tasting to experience the full flavors.

3. Koval Distillery

  • Location: 5121 North Ravenswood Road

Founded by Robert and Sonat Birnecker, Koval is a pioneer Chicago re-born distillery in Lake Michigan’s chic Ravenswood suburb. It is famed for its signature bourbon and rye made from locally grown organic ingredients in a grain-to-bottle operation. Koval offers distillery tours focused on their original facility, which is currently used for barrel aging. There is also a tasting bar and alembics displaying the rich distillery heritage of the neighborhood.

You can hop in any time for an enthralling tour and tasting experience. A knowledgeable guide explains the entire distilling system and covers guests’ questions. The atmosphere gets lively as you get a serving of top-quality Koval range from a giant plastic syringe. You can also enroll in their best cocktail classes to learn how to mix, shake, and garnish cocktails like a professional bartender.

4. Rhine Hall

  • Location: 2010 West Fulton Street,

Rhine Hall is a family-run fruit brandy distillery featuring an industrial-chic setup for tastings, cocktails, and bottles. When you walk into the distillery, friendly guides will usher you into a roomy saloon bar where you can sample a creative selection of cocktails made with fruit brandies. You will then embark on a tailored tour of the facility to witness the behind-the-scenes art of creating a multitude of delicious drinks. Distilling is seasonal here, with operations relying on the fruits from the Great Lakes region through the Rhine. You can also enroll in cocktail classes for anyone who wants to make great drinks. A tour of the Rhine Hall distillery is an opportunity to explore Chicago’s bustling Fulton Street, a 19th-century market transformed into hip cocktail lounges, bars, delis, and hip diners.

5. Maplewood Brewery& Distillery

  • 2717 N Maplewood Ave

Maplewood Brewery& Distillery is Illinois’ first craft spirit brewery & distillery producing handmade beer and spirits in Chicago’s Logan Square Neighborhood. The distillery has produced finely crafted beer and spirits from their 10BBL brewhouse since 2014. Maplewood has since opened a neighborhood bar dubbed “The Lounge” that doubles as a taproom and a cocktail parlor. The Lounge acts as the front room of the larger production facility filled with oak barrels of aging whiskey, hybrid pot, column still, and imposing beer fermentation tanks. You can be part of their regular guided tours to get an inside look at their operations and taste any craft beers and spirits.

6. CH Distillery

  • Location: 2010 West Fulton Street

CH Distillery is Chicago’s hometown artisan spirits maker with an extensive portfolio, including the famed organic vodka crafted from Illinois grain. Unknown to many, CH doesn’t stand for “Chicago” but rather refers to the fundamental compounds in alcohol, Carbon, and Hydrogen. CH Distillery products are milled, mashed, and fermented from scratch using only the absolute finest locally sourced ingredients.

The distillery offers an epic Science of Alcohol Tour that dives into the alchemy of distillation and an opportunity to taste the ultra-strong top and tail alcohol from the raw process. After this tasting, you will appreciate the need to water down distilled alcohol to make it drinkable.

Chicago Distilleries FAQs

How long does a distillery tour typically last?

The duration of a distillery tour varies from one to another but usually lasts around 1 to 2 hours. Some longer and more in-depth tours may take several hours.

Do I need to make a reservation for a distillery tour?

Making a reservation is a good idea, especially if you’re visiting a popular distillery or during peak tourist seasons. Some distilleries may require advance booking.

Is there an age limit for distillery tours

Most distilleries require visitors to be at least 21 years old to participate in a tour that includes tastings due to legal drinking age restrictions.

What should I wear for a distillery tour?

Dress comfortably and wear closed-toe shoes. Some distillery facilities may have specific dress codes, so checking in advance is a good idea.

Leverage DistilleryNearby’s customized directory for a memorable experience

Chicago is home to award-winning distilleries offering fun-filled tours and spirit-tasting opportunities. If you are an alcohol aficionado heading to Chicago or simply a curious traveler, a guided distillery tour is an ideal opportunity to sample a variety of beverages and learn the secrets behind each bottle. Start your Chicago distillery tour with our state-by-state directory at DistilleryNearby.

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