While Wisconsin is commonly associated with beer, the state has experienced a recent rise in the number of distilleries. Prohibition wiped out the industry in the area over 80 years ago, but Wisconsinites are developing a taste once more for high-quality, locally produced spirits. The uptick in craft breweries and small wineries has paved the way for the resurgence of local distilleries around the state, and you’ll want to be sure to check out these seven!
What started as a dream for a high school student has now become one of Wisconsin’s best places for locally produced wine and spirits. Infinity Beverages is both a winery and distillery that prides itself on its innovation. All of their beverages are truly unique and made from materials sourced from American suppliers and growers. Stop by for one of their Tour & Tasting events to learn more about the distillery’s operation or enjoy some samples at the Tasting Lounge.
Milwaukee may be a beer city, but Great Lakes Distillery has made a name for itself with its award-winning spirits. Opened in 2004, it became the first distillery in the state since Prohibition. Traditional old-world methods are used to make their high-quality, small-batch spirits, and local ingredients are used whenever possible to ensure that each product has a bit of Wisconsin in it. Their distillery tour was voted the best wine and spirits tour in the city, so be sure to check it out.
The natural beauty of Wisconsin’s Northwoods is what inspires the craft distilling of Northern Waters Distillery. What makes this distillery unique is that it aims to produce spirits as traditionally as possible, doing as much as they can by hand and producing batches of fewer than 100 bottles. Visitors can learn more about this process by touring the distillery on weekends or stopping by the Tasting Room for samples. For those who are very interested in distilling, Northern Waters offers the opportunity to spend an entire day observing the production process.
One of the first 50 craft distilleries in the USA, 45th Parallel Distillery has seen fast growth since its opening but remains family-owned. It also has retained a strong focus on sourcing local ingredients for its sprits—the grain used comes from a small farm just eight miles (12.8 kilometers) away. Visitors can taste their signature vodkas, gins, whiskeys, and more at one of their tasting events or combine it with a tour. For those who are wondering, the distillery’s unusual name comes from the fact that it lies halfway between the North Pole and the Equator on the 45th parallel.
Crafting high-quality spirits at Wollersheim dates back to the 1800s. For a time, regulations prohibited wineries in Wisconsin from distilling, but once that was lifted, Wollersheim Distillery was back in the brandy-making game. Now in addition to several brandies, they also produce gin, absinthe, and whiskey. Visitors are invited to stop by for a distillery tour, spirit tasting, or to enjoy one of their expertly made cocktails.
Madison’s first post-Prohibition distillery, Yahara Bay Distillers started with only three products but has expanded to over 40. While sold in 20 different states now, they haven’t forgotten their Wisconsin roots, and each batch of spirits is still made using local ingredients. If you take their distillery tour, not only will you learn about the ins and outs of producing spirits, but you’ll also get to visit their art gallery, which showcases artwork from regional and local artists. With a number of live music events, grabbing a drink at the Public House is also a must.
The Minhas Micro Distillery is part of the Minhas Brewery and produces some of the best artisan liqueurs and spirits in the state. Age-old distilling and blending methods are used to create liquors so smooth that they can be enjoyed straight. Whether you have a taste for vodka, whiskey, gin, or rum, take part in the distillery tour to learn more about how they are crafted. The distillery even offers additional services to those who are interested in starting their own distilling business.