As the Temperance Movement approached boiling point, America’s most beloved liquid vice found itself under heavy siege. France Elizabeth Willard and her league of temperance supporters turned Evanston into a stronghold for their cause.
Founded as a dray community, Evanston was home to many influential advocates for Prohibition who effectively keep the city free of alcohol for more than one hundred years.
Though the city legalised drinking the late 1990’s, it took the perseverance of the Master Distiller, Paul Hletko, to reverse the antiquated liquor laws. With roots going back to some of Europe’s fabled brewing families, Paul and FEW Spirits have marked the end of Evanston’s Prohibition and given the ciy its very own craft distillery. They chose to name the first legal distillery in Evanston in respectful, smiling homage to one of the city’s most historic figures. Plus, knowing that his product line would always remain small and focused, Hletko wanted to invite a bit of wordplay with the name, à la, “How many kinds spirits do you make?”…”We only make a few.”
The website has photos of the distillery – so you can feel right at home there as you sip their wares – all the way over in NZ.
We interviewed Paul and asked his thoughts on craft spirits.
Currently the distillery is producing gin, white whiskey, and aged bourbon and rye whiskey regularly, with the occasional limited-production spirit, such as a recent quick-selling batch of barrel-aged gin, mixed in.
Just a few of the many awards:
- Bourbon: Gold Medal by the Beverage Tasting Institute
- Rye: Craft Whisky of the Year by Whisky Advocate
- Barrel Aged Gin: Gold Medal by the Beverage Tasting Institute
- American Gin: Gold Medal from the American Craft Spirits Association