Elk Grove Village opens its doors to distilleries
Among the data centers, manufacturing facilities and logistics companies at Elk Grove Village's industrial park, entrepreneurs may soon be crafting gin, rum or whiskey.
Building upon the success of its first craft brewery, the village board has changed its local ordinance to allow distilleries to operate in industrial-zoned properties.
Though no formal plans for a distillery have materialized, it could just be a matter of time. About six potential distillery operators approached the village before the new rules were in place, Mayor Craig Johnson said.
About a year ago, Mikerphone Brewing opened its music-themed microbrewery in the industrial park at 121 Garlisch Drive. Its success and ingratiation into the community -- the brewery helped pay for an elevator at the VFW and is fundraising for a youth scholarship program -- encouraged village leaders to welcome similar businesses.
Additionally, businesses such as Mikerphone Brewing are taking up shop in the smaller spaces left available as the industrial park hits an all-time low vacancy rate of 2.8 percent, Johnson said.
"Mikerphone has been an eye-opener for us," Johnson said.
While craft beer business has been booming for years, distilleries also are on the rise in Illinois. In 2013, a key change in state law allowed distilleries to have bars and on-site packaged sales. The number of craft distilleries has more than tripled over the last several years.
The brewery and a potential craft distillery will change the complexion of the industrial park, even if they take up a fraction of the space occupied by larger industries. Breweries and craft distilleries attract customers from outside the community, broadening the village's exposure.
"These young people coming are future business people and they see our village in a different light," Johnson said.