Boetje’s Mustard has been a Quad Cities institution since 1889 and now, the award-winning company has another feather to add to its cap – the only local business named to the 2022 Illinois Makers class.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) on Wednesday announced that 30 small businesses or ‘Makers’ have been recognized as part of the Illinois Made program. Each year, the Illinois Office of Tourism chooses small businesses “that exemplify the hidden gems, experiences and one-of-a-kind products that make Illinois a great place to explore for residents and visitors alike,” according to a Wednesday release.
“Our family is so honored by this award,” Boetje’s owner Will Kropp said Wednesday. “Our mustard is handcrafted and uses the original recipe that was created back in 1889 right here in Rock Island.”
“I couldn’t be prouder to announce the 2022 Illinois Makers class—the most representative of our diverse state since the inception of the Illinois Made program,” Pritzker said in the release.
“Here in Illinois, we have it all: stunning wood carvings, mouthwatering pastries, and the most delicious barbeque in the nation—all thanks to our small businesses. With Small Business Saturday just around the corner, I encourage all residents and visitors to check out the 30 latest Makers that make Illinois, Illinois.”
“We are thrilled that Boetje’s Mustard is part of the 2022 Illinois Makers Class,” said Dave Herrell, president/CEO of Visit Quad Cities. “The Illinois Made program showcases the very best of unique and diverse small businesses that help tell the great story of Illinois and add to our destination’s authenticity and visitor experience.
“Quad Citizens are extremely proud of Boetje’s and their products,” he said. “We are grateful to the Illinois Office of Tourism for recognizing what we all know — Boetje’s makes the world’s best gourmet stone-ground mustard.”
The 2022 Illinois Makers class represents the most diverse since the program’s inception, with more than 60 percent of businesses owned by women or people of color. From French pastries to elegant, handcrafted Chinaware — each of the Illinois Makers featured help inspire travel throughout the state.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our Illinois economy, and their distinctive products and experiences help make communities unique and provide locals and visitors alike with many reasons to explore our great state,” said Sylvia I. Garcia, Director of DCEO, which includes the Illinois Office of Tourism.
“We’re excited to announce the new class of Illinois Makers just in time for Small Business Saturday on November 26,” she said.
Of the 30 new Illinois Makers, about half are in the Chicago area, and Boetje’s (pronounced “boat-cheese”) Mustard is among 12 in western Illinois, the only in the QC. The company’s plant is at 2736 12th St., Rock Island.
The Illinois Made program encourages residents and visitors to discover the people, products and authentic experiences created by small businesses throughout the state. The program, which features 236 makers, continues to drive tourism to every region of the state.
For more information, visit the program website.