Whiskey Acres Distilling Company is a true “seed-to-spirit” operation. A certified “farm distillery”, Whiskey Acres is located in DeKalb, IL. The Walter family decided to turn some of their farm land into crops to be used to produce their own brand of whiskey and bourbon (and some vodka too). The corn, the wheat, and the rye are all grown right there on their land. And you can tour the farm and distillery to see where the magic happens.
They started opening the distillery to the public in 2014. Our guide, Cherise, has been leading those tours since they opened. Her knowledge of the process and passion for what they produce added to our fun-filled experience.
The tasting room is open from 1:30-8:30 pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and again on Sundays from 1:30-5:30 pm (from April thru November*). Tours are given at the top of every hour. The cost for the basic tour is $10 and gets you the tour, a tasting, and a souvenir shot glass.
You can upgrade your tour to include a full drink (or two). This was a no-brainer. Especially when they had bourbon slushies on the drink menu.
The journey begins with a view of the farm and a story about the history of the family and the crops they grow there. What I found fascinating was the variety of corn they grow and the various flavors they can instill in their spirits as a result. The photo below shows some of those “specialty” corns.
From there, you get to see the stills and learn about the distilling process. They discuss the mashing, fermenting, and barreling of each batch they produce. After that, they age it, bottle it, and ship it out themselves. They even host “bottling parties” that are open to the public. I definitely want to get in on one of these.
Once your tour is over, you are welcome to stay on the property and enjoy more of their libations. They have a really cute cocktail patio and even encourage visitors to bring their own snacks or lunches. We packed up a small cooler with cheeses, crackers, peanuts, etc. It was a beautiful sunny day and they have plenty of seating.
*They are currently in the process of building a new visitors center. The plan is to have it completed by the end of November. This new building will enable them to remain open year-round. The current visitor center is only 400 square feet and feels like a cozy bar. Except that, with 40 people in our tour group all trying to buy tour passes and cocktails, it felt less cozy and more cramped. The new visitor center will be around 4,000 square feet and will seat around 60 people (with more than enough wiggle room for standing room only).
I was able to see the new building when I was there, but it had only just been framed out. I guess I will have to go back again to get all of you an update. Twist my arm. This was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. I highly recommend taking the road trip!