By Dan Miller
Progressive Farmer Senior Editor
Just last Friday, Whiskey Acres Distilling Company was making plans to expand its DeKalb, Illinois-based and award-winning spirits business to Nebraska. But the rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic swept those plans aside.
Only a few days later, Whiskey Acres President and CEO Jamie Walter is preparing his production line to produce hand sanitizer instead. Hand sanitizer has disappeared from retail store shelves and is in short supply in doctors’ offices and even hospitals. Walter believes the distillery that produces buckets of alcohol could help stem the shortage.
Walter saw the family’s business literally drying up by the hour. Its 4,000-square-foot bar and retail space closed a week ago. Whiskey Acres’ products were also sold in restaurants, all now closed in Illinois. The Nebraska plans are on hold. “We’re down to grocery and liquor stores,” Walter said. “A significant piece of our revenue has dried up.”
Whiskey Acres, paired with a commercial, 2,000-acre grain farm, produces internationally recognized bourbons, rye and vodka sold in Illinois and Wisconsin.