Evanston's FEW Spirits is seeking money from the city and other investors in order to increase its production to meet growing demand for its craft whiskey and gin.
“We’re always trying to expand," said Paul Hletko, who founded the distillery in 2010. " The city’s been quite helpful working with us."
FEW requested a $250,000 loan from Evanston at the Aug. 28 economic development committee meeting, and Hletko said he's now working on putting together a formal proposal. No follow up meeting has been scheduled so far. Heltko argues that FEW Spirits' increasing popularity is good for the city.
"We’ve been really trying to highlight Evanston products, not just in Chicago but all over the world," he said. "We’ve been successful in bringing some attention to the city of Evanston.”
The company is also looking for other investors to fund the purchase of an additional still and more bottling equipment, which would be set up at a warehouse on Main Street that the distillery currently uses to store barrels. Along with improving FEW's production capabilities, Hletko said he'd also like to have funds to expand and improve the distillery's tasting room at 918 Chicago Ave.
"As the brand has grown, we’re getting more and more interest from people wanting to come by," he said. "Once people come to Evanston to visit the tasting room we’ve seen them then go to dinner. They go to movies, on the way out of town they stop at a grocery store, they buy a book at a bookstore. We’d like to make our tasting room a drive for people to come here.”