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updated: 6/21/2017 1:10 PM

Small batch craft distillery scores award for bourbon

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  • The Bennett Mill Single Barrel Straight Bourbon won another award.

    The Bennett Mill Single Barrel Straight Bourbon won another award.
    Courtesy of Fox River Distilling Company

  • A variety of spirits are produced at a growing local small batch craft distillery in Geneva.

    A variety of spirits are produced at a growing local small batch craft distillery in Geneva.

  • A variety of spirits are produced at a growing local small batch craft distillery in Geneva.

    A variety of spirits are produced at a growing local small batch craft distillery in Geneva.

  • Jenny Orlando is the assistant distiller at Fox River Distilling Company.

    Jenny Orlando is the assistant distiller at Fox River Distilling Company.

  • Amy Orlando serves as vice president at Fox River Distilling Company and often handles quality control.Jenny Orlando, left, is the assistant distiller.

    Amy Orlando serves as vice president at Fox River Distilling Company and often handles quality control.Jenny Orlando, left, is the assistant distiller.

  • Mark Thorndyke and David Sheppard, have merged practices to create the Thorndyke Sheppard Group.

    Mark Thorndyke and David Sheppard, have merged practices to create the Thorndyke Sheppard Group.

 
 

Fox River Distilling Company in Geneva has garnered yet another award for its bourbon.

The Bennett Mill Single Barrel Straight Bourbon, which has received numerous awards and accolades, most recently was awarded the best in show out of more than 75 whiskey products from 10 states in the 2017 Heartland Whiskey Competition.

Mike Orlando, head distiller and co-founder of the suburban company must be doing something right. "We've won an award for every product we've produced," said Orlando, 57, who also makes vodka, gin and other spirits.

The distilling company opened its doors to the public in October of 2014 and has been praised for its Herrington Premium Vodka, Geneva's Gin, Herrington Citrus Flavored Vodka, Rev. Mike's White Lightning Moonshine and other spirits.

The distillery, at 204 Dearborn Court, is open for public tours and tastings on the weekends.

Orlando's wife, Amy, who serves as vice president, said they are now working to expand. "We are not the largest producer, but we always aim to be the best. Our goal now is to grow the company to support the increasing demand for the product," she said.

"We are unique in that we produce just what the distributors need," Mike said. Their spirits are found in nearly every liquor store and Whole Foods as well as some upscale bars in Chicago. "We are looking to expand into Indiana and Wisconsin," Mike said, adding that he as been approached by investors.

The Orlandos were living in the Quad Cities about eight years ago when they visited Mississippi River Distilling Company and were fascinated with the business. "We were on their first tour," said Mike, who was running an ice cream equipment company at the time.

The couple learned all they could from the owners of the Iowa distillery and volunteered to assist in bottling and other aspects of the operation. They learned that vodka takes 10 days to produce, gin takes 30 days and whiskey takes between a year and two.

The Orlandos then moved to Geneva and started the process of launching their own company. They read books, took classes, designed labels, came up with recipes and gained the necessary approvals to start the business. Their daughter, Jenny, assists in the operation. Mike said he used a lot of what he knew from the food industry and created the local small batch craft distillery.

New senior VP

Buffalo Grove-based MNJ Technologies, a growing technology solution and services provider, said Ben Niernberg was hired for a newly created role as senior vice president.

He will oversee the sales and marketing divisions of the company, with a focus on growing the brand in the marketplace, strengthening strategic partner relationships and adding diversity to the portfolio of services and solutions.

"I am very excited to join MNJ Technologies. Due to the amazing work owners Sue and Paul Kozak have done over the last 15 years, MNJ is an established leader in the marketplace and has a customer focus and internal culture that is unparalleled in the industry," Niernberg said.

In Niernberg's decade spent at Canon Solutions America, a subsidiary of Canon USA Company, he was in a variety of management roles where he developed sales and sales strategy in multiple new markets, before moving to a director role, where he grew sales revenue in the first year by 20 percent, taking the business from No. 4 in the country to the No. 1 ranked position in the marketplace.

Glass of wine?

SixtyFour -- A Wine Bar, is opening June 24 at Naperville's Water Street. The wine bar, which seats some 90 inside and an additional 45 on the outdoor patio overlooking the Riverwalk and DuPage River, also features a wine and beer retail store; offering over 1,000 sommelier-selected wines and over 70 craft beers to take home.

Wine or beer selections are accompanied by menu items developed by Executive Chef Patrick McLaughlin, formerly of Parker's Restaurant and Bar in Downers Grove. Chef McLaughlin's menu includes starters from fresh tuna poke, with avocado, daikon and Wakame seaweed to soy-glazed grilled shrimp.

The business is owned and operated by local Wheaton residents Loren and Amy Beadle. SixtyFour is a family business committed to the service of the community and the joy to be found together over incredible glasses of wine and great cuisine.

Practices merge

Merrill Lynch wealth management advisers Mark Thorndyke and David Sheppard have merged practices to create the Thorndyke Sheppard Group with more than $1.5 billion in assets under management. The combined team of 22 financial professionals will be co-located in Deer Park and downtown Chicago.

"Our mission, very simply, is to help our clients realize their most desired life goals. Our decision to consolidate our practices was made on that basis -- to directly support and advance our mission," said Thorndyke and Sheppard, principals of the Thorndyke Sheppard Group.

Sheppard has more than 40 years of experience while Thorndyke has more than 30 years under his belt.

Services offered by the Thorndyke Sheppard Group include wealth and asset management, financial planning, cash management, lending and banking services and individual and business banking and investment services for high net worth and ultrahigh net worth individuals and families.