Spirited Sips: 5 Fantastic Wisconsin Distilleries

By Julia Hunter
Special to TravelWisconsin.com

For the first time since Prohibition, distilleries across Wisconsin are experiencing a resurgence.

In 2006, the first distillery in more than 80 years opened its doors. Following in the steps of the state’s craft brewing tradition, small batch spirits are flourishing.

Here are a few of our favorites across the state. 

Yahara Bay Distillers – Madison

This Madison institution is so good, it's expanding to a larger facility in the area.

While Yahara's current location offers sampling and tours, guests will find a bigger sample bar, enahanced touring options and more space in the new Fitchburg building to distill the 42 spirits produced on site, along with a kitchen and and store.

Yahara Bay offers tours Monday through Saturday at its Madison location. If you’re looking for a nightcap, stop by Thursday nights, when the distillery is open for cocktails, free tours and samples.

Wollersheim Distillery – Prairie du Sac

When most people hear Wollersheim, they think of the historic Prairie du Sac winery. But the property’s past isn’t just in winemaking—brandy was made here as early as the 1870s.

Today, Wollersheim is distilling brandy once again—a natural choice since the drink originates from grapes—in addition to an apple eau de vie, absinthe and gin.

The new distillery's next step is to release a whiskey, which is currently aging in barrels. The tasting room and a viewing window of two stills is open from noon to 5 p.m. daily.

Great Lakes Distillery – Milwaukee

Wisconsin’s first distillery since Prohibition, this small-batch Milwaukee operation produces a variety of spirits, including whiskey, brandy, gin, rum, vodka and absinthe. Daily tours, which include a flight of six products, can be booked online.

The environmentally conscious distillery favors local ingredients and reuses bottles returned by customers. 

45th Parallel Distillery – New Richmond

This New Richmond enterprise boasts a local approach to distilling small-batch spirits. Ingredients used in production are purchased from a farm just down the road.

In addition to weekend tours that include a flight and tasting class, 45th Parallel offers distilling classes for those eager to go beyond the basics.

Northern Waters Distillery – Minocqua

Nestled in quaint downtown Minocqua, Northern Waters Distillery hand crafts small-batch spirits, including several moonshines celebrating the Prohibition Era.

Tours are offered Friday and Saturday afternoons and, occasionally, visitors are given the opportunity for a daylong behind-the-scenes experience on “production days,” during which participants learn about mashing, fermenting and distilling. 


Have another round and check out these additional Wisconsin distilleries.

This entry was posted in Breweries