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updated: 4/23/2013 4:46 PM

Copper Fiddle Distillery plans fall opening in Lake Zurich

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Now that village board approval is in hand, two men hope they can open a craft distillery sometime in the fall in Lake Zurich.

Copper Fiddle Distillery co-owner Jose Hernandez of Hawthorn Woods said the focus will be on six products, including a London-style dry gin and a limoncello. Copper Fiddle still must clear federal and state hurdles, plus receive a village liquor license, before it can open.

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If all goes well, Hernandez said, the small-scale Copper Fiddle will open at the earliest in September in a 2,100-square-foot storefront on Route 22. Copper Fiddle's timeline to open likely will make it just the 10th or so craft distillery in Illinois, he said.

"The interesting thing about craft distilling is you're constantly experimenting," Hernandez said Tuesday.

Bourbon, rye, gin, whiskey and other distilled spirits will be available at Copper Fiddle, which plans tours and tastings. Hernandez said limoncello -- a lemon liqueur rooted in Amalfi, Italy -- will be among the featured offerings.

"We're going to call it Lemon Fiddle, which is a play on words," he said.

He said a clear gin product of 85 proof to 90 proof will be a London-style dry. Limited release products are expected to include a honey whiskey that's 75 proof to 80 proof.

Illinois law limits the production of distilled spirits to 15,000 gallons per year, and only what is produced on site can be sold there. Hernandez, co-owner Fred Robinson of Hawthorn Woods and five part-time employees are projected to be the workforce at Copper Fiddle when it opens.

Copper Fiddle will join North Shore Distillery on North Herky Drive near Lake Bluff has the second such operation in Lake County. Hernandez said Libertyville, Volo, Wauconda, Island Lake, Barrington and Long Grove were among the villages under consideration before Copper Fiddle's partnership pursued the Lake Zurich building.

Lake Zurich officials have said it would be desirable for a microbrewery to locate near Copper Fiddle Distillery. The village trustees earlier this month voted 5-0 in favor of a special-use permit for Copper Fiddle.

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