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Great Lakes Distillery

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

616 W Virginia St, Milwaukee, WI 53204, USA

Opening Hours

11:00 AM - 7:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Varies

Find it on google maps

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expert
Colm
Local tour guide
"Make sure to visit Great Lakes Distillery during their 'Happy Hour' for a discounted taste of their finest spirits – it's a local favorite time to go that isn't widely advertised. Also, ask the bartenders about any off-menu, experimental spirits they might be currently working on; they occasionally share these unique offerings with interested visitors."

What is Great Lakes Distillery?

Great Lakes Distillery is Milwaukee's own foray into the craft of distillation, a beloved gem tucked away in the heart of the city. It distinguishes itself as Wisconsin's first distillery since prohibition, taking pride in a small-batch production ethos that focuses on quality, handcrafted spirits. From vodka and gin to whiskey and seasonal spirits, this is a place where the mastery of the craft is just as important as the delightful flavors that emerge.

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In front of you, the gleaming copper stills and the hum of distilling whisper secrets of a centuries-old tradition modernized by passionate artisans. The atmosphere here is both educational and social—a place where locals and visitors alike can gather to appreciate the finesse of a well-made spirit and learn about the distillation process from grain to glass.

It's not just about the spirits though; Great Lakes Distillery also serves as a community hub. It's a spot where you might bump into your neighbor or make new friends over a shared tasting flight, creating a convivial experience that extends beyond the enjoyment of its distilled offerings.

History of Great Lakes Distillery

The conception of Great Lakes Distillery can be traced back to its founder, Guy Rehorst, who was motivated by the dearth of local distilleries in Wisconsin. Bringing this establishment to life in 2004, Rehorst was pioneering in nature, leading a renaissance of spirit production in the state. His vision embodied the reclamation of traditional methods intertwined with inventive techniques to carve a niche for small-batch spirits in Milwaukee and beyond.

Since opening, the distillery has navigated through the complexities of an industry dominated by large-scale producers, staying true to its artisanal roots and commitment to quality. It's a testament to resilience and local pride, refusing to compromise on the tenets of craft distilling.

As the distillery's repertoire of spirits grew, so did its reputation, gaining accolades and awards that affirmed its position as a frontrunner in the region. It's a story of innovation, community, and, above all, a deep love for the art of distillation that continues to shape its ethos today.

Why is Great Lakes Distillery Important?

Great Lakes Distillery holds importance for several compelling reasons. It's a beacon of the resurgence of craft distilling in Wisconsin, showcasing how small-batch production can stand toe-to-toe with mass manufacturing. The distillery symbolizes a reconnection with local heritage and the ability to produce spirits with character and place—a reflection of Milwaukee's identity in every sip.

On a broader scale, Great Lakes Distillery becomes a narrative of passion and entrepreneurship. It personifies Milwaukee's innovative spirit and willingness to embrace and revitalize traditional crafts. Furthermore, it contributes to the local economy, supports agriculture through the use of regional ingredients, and enriches the social fabric of the area.

Impressively, Great Lakes Distillery has also garnered recognition on the national and international stage, bringing fame to Milwaukee's burgeoning craft scene. The distillery is more than just an alcohol producer—it's a cultural icon that draws people into Milwaukee’s storied history and its modern-day vibrancy.

Things to Do & See at Great Lakes Distillery

Visiting Great Lakes Distillery opens up a world of experiences for enthusiasts and novices alike. Commence your excursion with a guided tour, which I have witnessed unfailingly illuminating curious minds about the intricacies of spirit-making. You’ll have the chance to explore the production floor, learn about the fermentation and distillation processes, and understand what makes each spirit unique.

One of the highlights is the tasting room, a cozy space designed for savoring and discussing the distillery's creations. Here, guests can indulge in flights of spirits, craft cocktails, or even limited editions that showcase the distillery's range and depth. It's also a perfect setting for asking those esoteric questions—you'll be surprised at the hidden details the staff can reveal about each concoction.

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For those interested in something extra special, keep an eye on the distillery's event calendar. Great Lakes Distillery frequently hosts seasonal events and releases, parties, and even mixology classes. These gatherings are as informative as they are entertaining and offer a richer connection with Milwaukee's spirit traditions.

Before you leave, don't miss the opportunity to swing by the gift shop. It’s stocked with an array of spirits, merchandise, and even unique bitters and mixers you can take home. These make for a perfect memento or gift to extend the spirit of Milwaukee to friends and family.

Come and immerse yourself in this one-of-a-kind haven for spirit aficionados. Delve into the heart of Milwaukee's craft culture at Great Lakes Distillery—it's an encounter that promises to be both enlightening and thoroughly enjoyable.

Frequently asked questions

What is the Great Lakes Distillery?

The Great Lakes Distillery is a small-batch distillery located in Milwaukee, known for producing a variety of handcrafted spirits such as whiskey, gin, vodka, and rum using locally sourced ingredients.

Can I take a tour of the Great Lakes Distillery?

Yes, the Great Lakes Distillery offers tours that provide an inside look into their distillation process, along with opportunities to sample their spirits. It's recommended to check their website for the current tour schedule and availability.

Are there any special events at the Great Lakes Distillery?

The Great Lakes Distillery hosts a variety of events throughout the year including tastings, seasonal cocktail parties, and special releases of new spirits. You can find their events calendar on their official website or social media pages.

Is the Great Lakes Distillery family-friendly?

While the distillery is primarily an adult-focused venue due to the nature of its products, they may permit minors on tours if accompanied by a guardian. However, it is best to contact them directly for their current policy on underage visitors.

Do I need to make a reservation to visit the Great Lakes Distillery?

Reservations for tours are highly recommended to ensure your spot, as tours can fill up quickly. For visits to the tasting room or events, you should check their website for specific reservation requirements or recommendations.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

616 W Virginia St, Milwaukee, WI 53204, USA

Opening Hours

11:00 AM - 7:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Varies

Find it on google maps