Craft Distillers and the “Whiskey Renaissance”

February 04, 2014

In the last decade, craft beer and wine industries across the Midwest have blossomed. This is especially true in Illinois when it comes to the wine industry. New, locally owned distilleries are also starting to pop up. Between 2008 and 2012, craft distilleries in the US more than doubled. Today on Focus, we’ll investigate. Host Jim Meadows talks with author and whiskey connoisseur Clay Risen about the changing definition of an “American whiskey” and about his book “American Whiskey Bourbon and Rye: A Guide to The Nation’s Favorite Spirit.”

Then, host Jim Meadows talks with two distillers who’ve recently opened their doors in Central Illinois. Ernie Trinkle, who is a co-owner of Rumshine Distilling in Tilton, just south of Danville, will be here. For him, making quality liquor is a lot of fun and he sees a definite niche for locally made, quality liquor in East Central Illinois. Jesse Williams of J.K. Williams Distilling in East Peoria also joins the show. His great, great grandfather perfected a corn whiskey recipe during prohibition, and after nearly a century, he and his cousins have started to manufacture and distribute it. He’ll tell us about why he’s so invested in bringing locally made Whiskey back to Peoria.