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Whiskey distillery plans to barrel into Lake Zurich

Updated: March 8, 2013 7:37AM

LAKE ZURICH — A whiskey distillery could be headed to Lake Zurich.

The Lake Zurich Village Board reviewed a proposal Monday night for a distillery to set up shop on Route 22 and trustees offered favorable opinions.

The distillery would be operated by partners Jose Hernandez and Fred Robinson, who are now preparing for a hearing before the Lake Zurich Plan Commission.

They are targeting 532 W. Route 22, located between Rand and Ela roads, for their Copper Fiddle Distillery.

The distillery’s business model was presented as a destination and tourist attraction. Its staff would offer tours of the on-site distilling operation in conjunction with regular tasting events.

If approved, Copper Fiddle Distillery would be the eighth craft distillery to become licensed in Illinois, the second in Lake County, and the first distillery in the county to produce whiskey as its primary product.

Hernandez told trustees that the local distillery could also open up the door for microbreweries to come to the area. He explained that both businesses feed off each other for certain processes.

Hernandez also called Copper Fiddle a “green” business because its spent grains can be reused as animal feed or dog biscuits.

Before the proposal can move forward, the Village Board must first grant the applicants a change to the space’s zoning, which currently does not allow for “liquor stores” to operate within the area. They would require a new category of liquor license and a special-use permit.

After the presentation, trustees appeared to be open to the craft distillery proposal.

“These are the unique things that will help set us apart from other communities who don’t have this sort of thing, and are looking for them,” said Trustee Tom Poynton.

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