Harvard, IL (June 13, 2017) – Rush Creek Distilling, the newest craft distiller in Illinois and home to The Adventurous Spirit, recently welcomed “Liberty” – an American-made, 600-gallon, custom-tooled pot still that will soon begin producing Rush Creek’s custom-made, six times distilled vodka and signature gin. The distillery has set a July 15 soft opening date and will schedule an official celebration in mid-August. Whiskey barreling and ricking are planned for the fall.
“Liberty” was hand-built by American artisans over the course of 14 months and took a 1,672 mile road trip from Boise, Idaho, to her permanent home in Harvard, arriving on Memorial Day.
“For us, it was important to have a still that was made in America to our exact specifications by talented craftspeople. When we learned she was arriving on Memorial Day, we realized it was the perfect date,” said Jim “Mack” McConoughey, one of four founders who is launching Rush Creek Distilling. “Liberty embodies our intent to blend craft, art and science to create authentic, small-batch Rush Creek spirits.”
Rush Creek Distilling is located in the dairy heartland of the Midwest – 1501 W. Diggins St., Harvard, Illinois (the last stop on the Metra’s Union Pacific Northwest line). It was established by four local guys – Jim “Mack” McConoughey, Mark Stricker, Jay T. Nolan and master distiller Jeff McCarthy – who were looking for a new adventure. They wanted something unexpected and fun. Something that would give them a challenge and have them step outside their comfort zone. Finally one night while at an area tavern, they agreed on a distillery with an Adventurous Spirit.
The founders had business resources, as well as access to natural resources, to make it happen. On the professional side, they have 100-plus years of accumulated business acumen and connections, along with a commitment to Harvard, Illinois. Nearby, there are fields of heirloom grains and a pure, deep-spring water resource from the Rush Creek watershed.
The founders’ past experiences have come in handy for launching a distillery. McConoughey has a background in economic development, venture capital and real estate and owns farmland in the Harvard area.
Stricker comes from a third-generation family of bakers and has an expertise in commercial development. He also owns farmland in the Harvard area. Together, the McConoughey and Stricker farms will supply a significant portion of Rush Creek’s grains.
Nolan is the former mayor of Harvard and an accomplished businessman who built a concrete business from the ground up. He’s the guy who knows everyone and everyone knows him.
McCarthy is a former Air Force mechanic who loves to tinker. He has built several of his own stills and is known for his fine mash. Needless to say, he’s got a nose and taste for top-shelf spirits and is the Rush Creek master distiller.
Rush Creek Distilling is The Adventurous Spirit. It’s for those who have an independent streak and a passion for finding adventure every day in every pursuit. Rush Creek invites you to step outside the norm, the mainstream and your comfort zone to pursue your own adventure. Discover Rush Creek as your own reward. For news and updates, visit our in-progress web site rushcreekdistilling.com or follow us on Facebook.