Door County has a certain spirit that draws visitors from around the world, an intoxicating concoction composed of one part natural beauty, one part tradition, and one part local flavor. But, over the last few years, some Door County businesses have contributed to this spirit by distilling spirits of their own. Visit a Door County distillery to give some spirit to your next vacation.
This article will discuss the distilling tradition in Door County and then introduce you to Door County distilleries that allow you to take part in this ongoing custom.
Door County Distillery Tradition
Local craft distilleries have been popping up all over the country over the last few years, and Door County is no exception. As of 2022, two commercial distilleries have been operating in Door County.
However, distilling is nothing new to Door County. In fact, Door County’s Living Museum of Rural America, the Farm, has an artifact testifying to Door County’s distilling tradition. Tucked into one of its historic log buildings is an old-fashioned copper still.
While Door County isn’t as famous as Appalachia for moonshining, this is surely due to the more modest nature of the peninsula’s residents. Old-timers in the county report that stills were common in their childhoods. And, no wonder. With crops like wheat, barley, oats, corn, apples, and cherries in abundance, and given its remote geography far from the attention of federal agents, many farmers didn’t think twice about running a still in an outbuilding.
And, not just farmers. Evidence suggests that a brewing and distilling scholar, Robert “Doc” Wahl, secretly plied his trade from the solitude of a Door County farm during prohibition. Those same raw materials and remoteness that allowed Door County farmers to run a still brought him up from Chicago when prohibition prevented him from working in the open.
Hatch Distilling Co.
Doch Wahl’s legacy lives on at Hatch Distilling Co. through a single-malt whiskey they say is their “very first whiskey fermented, distilled, and aged 100% on-site here in Egg Harbor.”
Hatch Distilling Co. was born out of the conviction that a distillery could bridge the gap between Door County’s agricultural tradition and its status as a major tourist destination. That conviction means that Hatch has a commitment to sourcing their ingredients as locally as possible; many of the grains and fruits used for their spirits come right from Door County.
Hatch Distilling Co. offers nine varieties of spirits, including vodka, gin, bourbon, apple brandy, limoncello, and agave spirit.
Their products can be purchased in many restaurants and grocery and liquor stores, but they would love for you to pay them a visit in their facility in Egg Harbor.
Address: 7740 WI-42, Egg Harbor, WI 54209
Door County Distillery
The first commercial distillery in Door County since prohibition, Door County Distillery produces an award-winning line of spirits from its headquarters in Carlsville. Door County Distillery is connected to Door Peninsula Winery, so those who prefer wine will not mind joining their spirit-loving friends for a visit.
Door County Distillery’s tasting room is open year-round, and tours are available for a nominal fee.
Vodka, gin, whiskey, rum, and brandy round out their line of spirits.
Address: 5806 WI-42, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235