Star Union Spirits Converts c1845 Brewery into Craft Spirit Distillery and Tasting Room
Tapping into the historical adult beverage roots of America’s heartland, Co-founders Bob Windy and Jeff Yosowitz have opened Star Union Spirits distillery in Peru, Illinois. For Windy, a Peru native it’s a homecoming in many ways. It was his grandfather that used to work at the location the distillery now calls home.
Starting back in 1845 the location was used by Star Union Products Company to produce Star Model Beer. The brewery operated at this location for more than 120 years until 1966. The new distillery, Star Union Spirits takes its name from this history. The distillery recently opened its doors in December as the anchor tenant for further economic revitalization at what’s known as the Westclox factory building.
As the first licensed distillery in Peru in well over 100 years, Star Union Spirits plans on focusing on craft, fruit & grain distilled spirits: brandy, whiskey and vodka. The founders say that as consumer spending habits shift away from the white spirits to dark flavored liquids like whiskey and cognac, Star Union Spirits is providing the American answer to the French staple in the form of New American Brandy in addition to its aged and unaged spirits. “We use Midwestern fruits and grains as well as West Coast and South American grapes,” said co- founder Jeff Yosowitz.
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With whiskey up 4.6% since 2016, and cognac sales up by more than 5% within the past year, the distillery will tap into the booming consumer interest in craft spirits and the robust 2.6 million visitors to the Starved Rock Illinois State Park, voted the No. 1 attraction in the state of Illinois, to draw customers to their production and tasting facility.
“I was born and raised in Peru and much of my family still resides here. My grandfather used to work in the Westclox factory and I remember family Christmas parties there. I have always wanted to return to this great place where I spent my formative years and reinvest in my community,” said co-founder Bob Windy.
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Star Union Spirits will offer facility tours where they will illuminate the art of farm-to-bottle processes and host other exciting cultural events.