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Thornton Distilling Co.

One of our newest Illinois craft distilleries to join the Grapes & Hops family. Check out their story below.

In 2014, as an old brewery sat vacant, a small group of craft distillers happened upon its colorful history as Illinois’ oldest standing brewery and discovered the artesian well still functioned. After four long years of meticulous building restoration, Thornton Distilling Company is again producing fine distilled spirits.   

he colorful history of The Well at the Distillery, the oldest standing brewery in Illinois, can be traced back to 1857 when the brick and limestone brewery and grain tower was built by the John S. Bielfeldt family on the west bank of Thorn Creek in the small Village of Thornton, Illinois. The artesian well already was on the property where a log cabin saloon and brewery had opened in 1836.

Just down the street from the brewery was the beginning of a large rock quarry which today is the largest limestone quarry in North America. John S, Bielfeldt would go-on to quench the insatiable thirst of the multitude of workers and quarriers that mined the land and built what is today the great city of Chicago. The Well tapped into the limestone spring feeding from a deep underground aquifer from Lake Superior. The minerality of the limestone filtered water provides a desirable effect on the production of fine spirits both then and now.