Just over seven years ago, some family farmers near Dekalb, Illinois, decided to start making whiskey out of their corn and rye. They named their operation Whiskey Acres, and co-founder Jamie Walter tells WGN’s Steve Alexander it truly is an operation from the ground up, with corn harvested from the Walter family farm eventually bottled and sold on store shelves across Illinois, including Chicago Binny’s locations. Walter says nothing goes to waste, and once the alcohol and flavor are cooked out of the corn, the nutrient-rich leftovers are fed hogs and cattle on nearby farms, or put back into the soil for the next year’s crops.
The founders of Whiskey Acres: Nick Nagele, Jamie Walter, and Jim Walter “harvesting” whiskey. (Photo from Whiskey Acres)
"Great whiskey isn't made, it's grown," says a northern Illinois corn farmer/distiller. And bourbon can only be made from corn, and only in the United States.