J.K. Williams Distilling Eyeing Warehouse District Resurrection

Aug 13, 2019

J.K. Williams whiskey may flow in Peoria again next year - under new ownership.

The family-owned, East Peoria-based distillery closed in March 2018 after about five years in business. Entrepreneur Andy Faris moved to Peoria from Dallas to take over the brand. 

Faris said he is scouting locations in Peoria's Warehouse District. He's aiming for a relaunch in spring or summer 2020. His envisioned facility would include a tasting room, an outdoor patio and what he calls a "retro" feel that harkens back to Peoria's pre-Prohibition days as the Whiskey City, the hub of America's hard liquor production. 

"Peorians enjoy a decent drink, and they like socializing. We're going to highlight, certainly, by putting it in the Warehouse District is a nod to the city's past," Faris said. 

He said the focus will remain on bourbon, rye and single-malt whiskey. He plans to replace J.K. Williams' fruit-flavored corn whiskeys with gin and vodka.

J.K Williams is the second distillery to announce plans to open in the Warehouse District in recent months. Black Band Distillery is moving into 1000 SW Adams after renovation work wraps up. An opening date for that business hasn't been announced. 

Peoria has assorted microbreweries, but hasn't had a major whiskey presence since the Hiram Walker plant closed in 1981. That facility is now used by Archer Daniels Midland for ethanol production.