Craft Distillers and the “Whiskey Renaissance”
Between 2008 and 2012, craft distilleries in the US more than doubled. This hour on Focus, we’ll hear from author and whiskey connoisseur Clay Risen and two local distillers.
In the last decade, craft beer and wine industries across the Midwest have blossomed. This is especially true in Illinois when it comes to the wine industry. New, locally owned distilleries are also starting to pop up. Between 2008 and 2012, craft distilleries in the US more than doubled. Today on Focus, we’ll investigate. Host Jim Meadows talks with author and whiskey connoisseur Clay Risen about the changing definition of an “American whiskey” and about his book “American Whiskey Bourbon and Rye: A Guide to The Nation’s Favorite Spirit.”
Then, host Jim Meadows talks with two distillers who’ve recently opened their doors in Central Illinois. Ernie Trinkle, who is a co-owner of Rumshine Distilling in Tilton, just south of Danville, will be here. For him, making quality liquor is a lot of fun and he sees a definite niche for locally made, quality liquor in East Central Illinois. Jesse Williams of J.K. Williams Distilling in East Peoria also joins the show. His great, great grandfather perfected a corn whiskey recipe during prohibition, and after nearly a century, he and his cousins have started to manufacture and distribute it. He’ll tell us about why he’s so invested in bringing locally made Whiskey back to Peoria.
David Tran, the owner of Huy Fong Foods, started making his sriracha style hot sauce after his family immigrated to California from Thailand. Thirty years after he made the first batch, he’s nearly tripled the size of his operation and sold a reported 20 million bottles in 2012. Who is Tran, and where did the recipe for the wildly popular hot sauce come from?
This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Griffin Hammond, a Bloomington based documentary maker, about his newest film “Sriracha.” We’ll hear about the origins of the hot sauce and about the fact that even though there is no marketing team behind advertising the sauce, Sriracha has a large enough fan base to have inspired several cookbooks, tattoos of the rooster logo on the bottle, a Lay’s Potato Chip flavor and even themed air fresheners. Randy Clemens, author of “The Sriracha Cookbook: 50 Rooster Sauce Recipes” and “The Veggie-Lover’s Sriracha Cookbook,” also joins us.
Here's a little something to tide you over until the next radio episode: Our very first VIMBY, which we shot on on Memorial Day at a closed-to-the-public Black Dog Smoke and Ale House in Urbana, IL. Yes, that was a few months ago - art takes awhile! Yes, IMBY #69 has the same title and subject matter - this companion video offers much more, though, including beverage recipes and demos. Many thanks to Black Dog, Mike Miller (aka "Flip Flop"), Tim Meyers, Thomas Nicol, and Mattias Hellberg for the various parts they played in getting this done. Will there be another?
Watch this space.
There’s what some call a wine movement happening through the Midwest, and Illinois is definitely following suit. Midwest wine makers and grape growers have seen a huge increase in business in the last decade, and this hour on Focus, we’ll talk about why. Bradley Beam, an enologist with the Illinois Grape Growers and Vinters Association will join us to talk about what makes an Illinois wine and Illinois wine and where you can go to find the perfect one for you. Tony Jacobson, a winemaker at Sleepy Creek Vineyards in Fairmount also joins us. We’ll talk about new research being done to enable vineyards to grow more grapes in a colder climate, and he’ll walk us through the wine making process from start to finish.
Have you visited a winery or vineyard in Illinois? What wines do you recommend? Maybe you have questions about why locally produced wines are sometimes hard to come by… We’d love to hear from you this hour on Focus!