With the cold winter temperatures, OLLI's most recent Learning Trip was quite the exception. The sun was shining and the outside temperature reached the 50's as we toured J.K. Williams Distilling in East Peoria. Jesse Williams and his wife Kassi welcomed OLLI members with a cocktail blended from their signature products such as: Smitty's Apple Pie, J.K.'s Lemmon Whisky, and J.K.'s Blackberry Whiskey.
With cocktails in hand, OLLI members learned about the distillery's history. The Williams family began distilling well-before the 1920s, and became top-name during the prohibition era. After a brief overview of the Williams roots in distilling, we had the opportunity to tour the facility. Our tour includes a behind-the-scenes look at the distilling process, as-well as an inside peak at how the product goes from grain to bottle.
OLLI members also quickly discovered that family values are at the core of J.K. Williams' business. Both Williams brothers, their wives, and children are involved in J.K. Williams, including: distilling, bottling, labeling, and marketing the product. James Williams, the great-great grandfather of the Williams brothers, refused to sacrifice quality when crating his bootleg whiskey. In reviving the family recipe four generations later, J.K. Williams continues the family tradition of choosing quality and taste over mass production.
We would like to thank the J.K. Williams Distilling family for welcoming us on another informative and enjoyable OLLI Learning Trip! Click here to visit the J.K. Williams Distilling website.