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Journeyman Distillery's Barrel Aged Brew Fest on tap
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Journeyman Distillery's Barrel Aged Brew Fest on tap

Journeyman Distillery's Barrel Aged Brew Fest on tap

Journeyman Distillery is shown.

Journeyman Distillery is bringing back its Barrel Aged Brew Fest that draws visitors from across greater Chicagoland and beyond.

The organic kosher distillery, just across the state line in Three Oaks, Michigan, will broaden from whiskey and other artisan spirits to craft beer when it hosts the annual festival from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday.

It's a fundraiser for Islay's Barrel, a nonprofit that sends kids to summer camp, including at the Dunes Learning Center. Dozens of breweries, wineries and cideries will compete for the Golden Barrel trophy.

“It’s an opportunity for area makers to get creative and connect with fans,” Journeyman Production Manager Tom Balich said.

This year's participants include 18th Street Brewery, Burn 'Em Brewing, Blockhead Beerworks, Misbeehavin' Meads, Crooked Ewe Brewery, Great Mead Hall & Brewing Co., Pigeon Hill Brewing Company, The Livery, Exit Strategy Brewing, Whiner Beer Co., Haymarket, Wolf Den Brewing, Odd Side Ales, Seedz Brewery, Greenbush, River St. Joe, Two Toms Brewing, Dablon Winery and Virtue Cider. 

Journeyman is celebrating its 10th year in business. Founder Bill Welter, a Valparaiso native who is expanding to a second location in Valpo, started the business at a time when there were fewer than 250 distilleries in business across the country. That number has since grown to 2,500 as craft distilling boomed, along with craft brewing, artisanship and other back-to-local trends spurning generic and mass-produced products.

The distillery operates out of a historic buggy whip and corset factory in Southwest Michigan that's a popular draw to Harbor Country.

"Not everyone is experimenting and creating certified organic, kosher and gluten-free spirits made from local grains with a purposeful approach, as we have been. We live up to our name as trailblazing pioneers, taking the road less traveled, to see where it leads," the business said in a news release. "Throngs of visitors pilgrimage to experience: the repurposed, authentic factory spaces, the distilling process, Staymaker restaurant, Welter's Folly putting green, event venues and the heralded spirits. Honoring those that came before us, by adding to their history with new stories, gives us a sense of place, of where we come from, where we have been and who we are. We celebrate history in the making."

General admission tickets to Journeyman's Barrel Aged Brew Fest include six tasting tickets and a commemorative glass to take home. VIP tickets include admission an hour earlier than the regular opening time, the commemorative glass, eight tasting tickets and a gift.

Attendees can buy extra tasting tickets, hot food and designated driver tickets at the festival.

For more information, visit


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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.

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