Chicago: The Whisky City

Posted: April 17, 2018

The Windy City was once a hotbed of illicit distilling and bootleg booze smuggling, not to mention bloody gang warfare, but now, 85 years after the end of Prohibition, Chicago is well established as a whisky city once more. Felipe Schrieberg reports.

Chicago has a long and bloody history involving alcohol. In the mid-to-late 18th century, the city was a significant brewer of beer. During Prohibition (1920-33), when alcohol was declared illegal in the US, Chicago gangsters including Al Capone and Bugs Moran famously smuggled liquor in from Canada, and pitched battles raged across the city over the spoils.

More recently, Chicago has been transforming into a whisky town, if under more peaceful conditions. The number of bars with a serious whisky selection has exploded in recent years, and local and regional retailers are shipping large numbers of bottles to meet the demand. There seem to be more high quality whisky bars here than in any city in Scotland or the rest of the UK…

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