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Geneva Distillery: Staycation Destination

July 8, 2019

That's right—a Geneva distillery. And it's award-winning, to boot.

When you live in or near a destination town like Geneva, IL, you don't need to travel far to find interesting things to do. Downtown Geneva is renowned for its unique shopping and dining choices, as highlighted by local blogger Basically B. But on the other side of Geneva, east of Kirk Road and tucked into a business park at 204 Dearborn Ct. Suite #110 (take a right just past the Northern Illinois Food Bank), is a hidden gem: Fox River Distilling Company

Geneva distillery - barrels

Kane County's First Legal Distillery since Prohibition

Did you know Geneva's founder, James Herrington, was a skilled distiller of whiskey? Before heading west, he had a lucrative general store in Mercer, Pennsylvania with a sales ledger rife with the word "Whisky." It's presumed he would've sold the same type of products at the general store he opened in Geneva.

Prohibition put an end to that—and to thousands of small distilleries across America. In 1933, when alcohol again became legal in the US, tight regulations inhibited local producers. But loosening regulations in recent years has opened the door to craft distilling once again. In October 2014, under the vision of Mike and Amy Orlando, Fox River Distilling Co. became the first legal distillery in Kane County since prohibition. 

Learn more about whiskey's local roots at

Keeping It Local

Using traditional distilling methods, Fox River Distilling Co. takes an artisan approach to producing its premium spirits. Each one is handcrafted in small batches. And the owners believe in keeping it local. Ninety percent of the distiller's ingredients are grown within a twenty-five-mile radius of the Geneva, IL facility. 

Sourcing locally has many benefits, including:

  1. Fresher ingredients.
  2. Lower transportation costs.
  3. Support of the local economy.

Plus, we know our MIdwest grains are the very best, right? So add quality to that list. When you buy Fox River's Herrington vodka and gin and Bennett Mill bourbon and whiskey, you're buying local all the way through.

Geneva distillery - tour

Take a Tour of this Geneva Distillery

This is a working distillery, making some of the finest bourbon, vodka, and gin in the world—with the awards to prove it. So, Fox River Distilling Company isn't always open to the public. But on Saturdays, those 21 years of age and older can take a $10 tour that includes free tastings after the tour. See FRDC's reservations page for current times and cost (as of this post, Saturday tours are at 2pm and 4pm). Reservations are required.

We don't want to give away spoilers, but it's a thoroughly interesting tour, revealing a back story that involves Al Capone and explaining why the owners only set foot in Kentucky when they're feeling dangerous. Arrive half an hour early to enjoy $5 drinks at the bar before the tour begins (you can take your drinks with you on the tour, too).

First Fridays

On the first Friday evening of each month, the distillery hosts a First Fridays event from 5:30-8pm. Sip $5 drinks, enjoy local music and samples of local cuisine, and take a mini tour with Mike. It's a great way to experience the Geneva distillery and its superior spirits. The event is free to attend and no reservations are necessary. See Fox Valley Distilling Co.'s calendar of events for more details.

Geneva distillery - award-winning spirits

Request Herrington and Bennett Mill Spirits

If you can't make it to a Saturday tour or First Friday, you're not out of luck. Fox River Distilling Company's Herrington vodka and gin and their Bennett Mill bourbon and whiskey are available at local liquor stores and at several area restaurants. (By area, we also mean Chicago. Ever heard of a little place called Shaw's Crab House?)

Ordering a gin and tonic? Ask the bartender to use Herrington gin. Bourbon on the rocks? Have the very best by requesting Bennett Mill. If you visit a local restaurant that doesn't carry spirits by this award-winning, hyper-local Geneva distillery, tell them they should. 

Keep up with events at Fox River Distilling Company by signing up for their emails (scroll to bottom of linked page).

Sign up for The Little Traveler's weekly emails to keep up with what's happening at the store and around Geneva. 


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