GALENA, Ill. - We begin our community spotlight series in Galena this week.
It starts with the story of two brothers from the Quad Cities who gave up their careers to start a distillery in Galena.
Mike and Matt Blaum are co-owners of Blaum Brothers distillery.
Matt worked in nuclear pharmaceutical sales, and Mike worked for the defense dept doing IT.
Different backgrounds, but united four years ago by their common love of whiskey.
The Blaum brothers bought this still, handcrafted all the way from Germany. They named it Chester, and it makes ten different kinds of alcohol.
They make bourbon whiskey, rye whiskey, malt whiskey, rum, gin, absinthe, and flavored vodka - like jalapeno infused vodka.
It's not a big operation.
They get their grain straight off the fields within about 70 miles of the distillery from Illinois in thousand-pound bags - whole grain, raw.
It's milled down, mashed, fermented, and distilled, and comes out with about a barrel worth of whiskey at a time. Then, it sits.
The entire process is controlled here on site.
"We're doing this by hand," says Mike, "We're using our taste and senses to make the cuts. So it's a very personal spirit."
The Blaum brothers got in the distillery business for one reason - to make a better bourbon whiskey.
And after years of waiting, the dream has come true.
Their bourbon whiskey was released just last month.
"It's one of those things where you sit there and look at the barrels every day for about four years, and you hope it's not gonna suck. You hope it's going to be good, and you hope it's going to be well received by others who are sort of into this kind of thing."
"If we're making things that we're really into and we see other people enjoying it, all the better. I'm still excited to see what's going to come down the road in a couple years."
To find more details about tours of the Blaum Brothers Distilling Co, click here.
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