Illinois

Our Handy Local Distillery

2 May 2011

When two friends and I entered the diminutive Koval Distillery, a heady aroma immediately struck us. I thought it smelled like yeast, Andrew sensed vinegar and Mark caught a whiff of elephants. Something special was brewing here.

Chicago’s first legal distillery since before Prohibition opened just 2.5 years ago, in a charming old brick building next to some commuter railroad tracks. Robert and Sonat Birnecker decided they wanted to start a family business, and since Mr. Birnecker had learned the craft of distilling from his grandfather in Austria, they opened Koval.

Now, they work to rejuvenate the boutique distilling traditions lost to the ill-advised experiment of Prohibition, creating unique, painstakingly handcrafted whiskeys and liqueurs. All are organic, and all are kosher.

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