K. Williams Distilling will reopen with a new owner in 2020. Andy Faris closed on the sale of the business in mid-April of 2019, which included the naming rights, all of the distilling equipment and an extensive existing inventory of spirits. While the name will remain the same, the brand will relaunch with a refreshed visual identity. With new energy — and a comprehensive marketing and social media plan — there is great potential for the J.K. Williams brand to continue growing.
Faris currently holds a month-to-month lease at the present location in East Peoria, but that is only a temporary address. Negotiations are being finalized to secure a location in Peoria’s Warehouse District. The new location will require a complete build out, which means a fresh, unique atmosphere that pays homage to Peoria’s rich whiskey history. If negotiations go as planned, the new location will be open for business by mid-2020.
“While the core focus will be on bourbon, rye and single malt whiskey, the fruit flavored corn whiskeys will be replaced with gin and vodka,” said Faris. “Since J.K. Williams Distilling will only be serving what it produces, the addition of gin and vodka will allow for a more diverse experience in the tasting room and unique and delicious hand-crafted cocktails.”
J.K. Williams Distilling will be open five days a week and be complemented by tours and special events. There will be an attractive onsite tasting room and bar, a retail space where bottled spirits and unique gifts can be purchased, and an inviting outdoor patio area for people to gather with friends and family.
“Peoria is on the cusp of growth that will not only keep people from leaving but bring new people, like me, here as well,” said Faris, a Minneapolis native. “My vision is to create an upscale yet approachable experience that feels like it’s been here forever. Our distillery will ultimately add to the already energetic and cool vibe happening in the Warehouse District,” he added.
Within two years, J.K. Williams Distilling aims to employ 15 to 20 people. This does not include the number of construction jobs that will be required for a complete build out at the new location. Faris is currently working to secure additional financing and has already secured community partnerships. This includes selling J.K. Williams Distilling products in multiple retail stores, restaurants, bars and country clubs in the area, and a renewed membership with the Illinois Craft Distillers Association.