The only commercial distiller in the immediate Peoria area appears to be going out of business.
J.K. Williams Distilling in East Peoria is to close permanently in the coming weeks, according to a message posted on its Facebook page. The message cited the owners' desire to focus more time and energy on their families.
"We have poured our passion into our handcrafted whiskey for the past four years, and we are proud of our ... accomplishments," the social-media message stated, in part.
Nobody answered the telephone when Nick in the Morning called the craft distillery Tuesday. The Facebook post stated more information is to be forthcoming regarding availability for purchase of the distillery's remaining inventory.
The distillery at 526 High Point Lane opened to the public in October 2013, the brainchild of brothers Jesse and Jon Williams and their wives, Kassi and Kristin. It was named after the Williams brothers' great-great-grandfather, who apparently made illegal whiskey during Prohibition.
When the distillery opened, it featured a limited product line, led by corn-mash whiskey. But about two years ago, J.K. Williams released its first batch of straight bourbon whiskey.
Other J.K. Williams bourbons received numerous awards in national spirits competitions. The distillery has been open Saturdays and Sundays for tours and tastings, although its product also has been available at local bars, restaurants and retailers.
Alcohol distilling in the Peoria area once was a major deal, of course. Before Prohibition took effect in 1920, distillers in the Peoria area produced more whiskey and raised more federal tax revenue than anyplace in the country.
Once Prohibition ended, Hiram Walker and Sons Ltd. established a distillery along the Illinois River in Peoria. It produced plenty of Ten High bourbon, among other spirits, until it closed in 1981.
Archer Daniels Midland Co. now operates a corn-processing plant at the Hiram Walker site, at the foot of Edmund Street.