Johnson visits Green Oaks distillery, invites other local businesses to participate in tour series

  • North Shore Distillery co-founder Sonja Kassebaum (left) and State Senator Adriane Johnson.

    North Shore Distillery co-founder Sonja Kassebaum (left) and State Senator Adriane Johnson.

Updated 4/8/2021 10:59 AM

As part of her small business tour series to get to know local business owners and better understand their needs during the pandemic and beyond, State Senator Adriane Johnson (D-Buffalo Grove) paid a visit to North Shore Distillery in Green Oaks.

"Like many other businesses in our community, North Shore Distillery suffered economic setbacks as a result of the pandemic," Johnson said. "But over the past year, they have shown impressive resilience and innovation to keep their doors open. I'm proud to have businesses like North Shore Distillery in the 30th District."


North Shore Distillery bills itself as Illinois' original craft distillery, established in 2004 by Derek and Sonja Kassebaum, a husband-and-wife team who invested their life savings into the facility.

When the COVID-19 pandemic put a pause on in-person gatherings, North Shore Distillery--which regularly hosted tours, classes and other events in its spacious bar and tasting room--took a hit.

Despite this hardship, North Shore Distillery pivoted at the onset of the pandemic to help support first responders, long-term care facilities and health care providers by becoming the first distillery in the country to receive approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to produce alcohol-based hand sanitizer, addressing a dire nationwide shortage.

Thankfully, the business was eventually able to secure funding through the Paycheck Protection Program to help cope with pandemic-related losses. The Kassebaums say they hope to expand their seven-person team as COVID-19 restrictions loosen.

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"Like the other outstanding small businesses I've had the privilege of visiting as part of my tour series, North Shore Distillery not only offers exceptional products and exciting experiences--they also serve the community," Johnson said. "I encourage everyone to shop and dine local when possible to ensure these establishments can continue to enrich the 30th District."

Johnson encourages local business owners to sign up to participate in her tour series. To apply, visit Once an application is received, a member of Johnson's team will reach out with additional details.

With questions, contact Senator Johnson's office at 847-623-3006 or by visiting

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