Lake Zurich’s village board had a positive response to the concept of Copper Fiddle Distillery, a craft distillery being proposed for a site on Rte. 22, just east of Rte. 12.
Hawthorn Woods residents Jose Hernandez and Fred Robinson brought the concept to the village board, Feb. 4, for a courtesy review.
“This is a relatively new industry in the US ; it was eliminated before prohibition and has seen a resurgence in the last five years,” Hernandez told the village board. “It is nothing more than a bakery; we produce the product in the rear and sell it in the front. We use the same ingredients as a bakery, we’re just producing something quite a bit different,” he said.
The Illinois legislature passed a law in 2010 allowing craft distillers to apply for a state license liquor license and allowing them to sell the alcohol they produce at their distillery.
Ilinois craft distillers are limited to producing up to 15,000 gallons of distilled spirits per year.
Hernandez said Copper Fiddle Distillery would be the ninth distillery in Illinois and the second in Lake County (there is a distillery in Lake Bluff).
The distillery would offer tours and tastings onsite at 532 Rte. 22. The business would also sell specialty barware and accessories. The distillery would specialize in whiskey.
Trustee Rich Sustich said the distillery could help create Rte. 22 as a destination.
Hernandez said a craft distillery in Lake Zurich could attract craft brewers to the area as well.
“Thank you for bringing this forward to Lake Zurich. It’s these kinds of unique things that separate us from other villages. I’m 100 proof for this,” Trustee Tom Poynton said.
The concept was forwarded to the plan commission and zoning board as it requires a zoning code text amendment and a special use permit. If approved, the business would seek a liquor license and a new liquor license category would need to be created.
According to the American Distilling Institute (ADI), there were roughly 50 micro-distilleries operating in 2005; today there are about 250 spread among 45 states, as stated in Time magazine. “The renaissance has happened to wine, beer, bread, vegetables … even sauerkraut,” ADI President Bill Owens says of the craft revolution. Now, he says, is simply spirits’ turn, with the industry poised to imitate the rise of craft beers that America experienced in the ’90s, according to Time.