WOODSTOCK – Nearly four years after McHenry County welcomed its first microdistillery, owner David Cunningham has big plans to expand the growing business.
The Wauconda resident opened Wondertucky Distillery & Bottling Inc., at 35 E. South St., Woodstock, in August 2013. Cunningham got a craft distiller license from the state and passed all city inspections in early 2015, then he began making whiskey.
Cunningham, along with his assistant Jessica Zuba, offers homemade clear corn whiskey and bourbon, along with seasonal concoctions such as fruit, vanilla, coffee and spicy veggie and herb infused whiskeys, only available at the distillery. All products are made by hand in the Woodstock location and each batch can take about a week to complete.
“We’re always trying new things and experimenting here,” Zuba said. “You get to try things you couldn’t try anywhere else.”
Cunningham’s products are on the shelves of more than 200 stores, from bars and restaurants to Jewel Osco and Binny’s. The price of the products range from about $12.99 for a 12.6-ounce bottle of 80-proof corn whiskey to $34.99 for a 25.3-ounce bottle of 80-proof bourbon.
Wondertucky added a tasting room in December. The space allows customers to sample some of the products, tour the building and learn more about the process. The tasting room is open from 1 to 10 p.m. Friday through Sunday.
Cunningham also is looking to open a larger location in Woodstock that would include live music, a restaurant, the distillery and the tasting room. He said he is interested in staying in the area because of the overwhelmingly positive reception from city officials and community members.
“Woodstock is a charming, quaint, easy to work with town,” Cunningham said. “They are very happy to have us here.”
Wondertucky Distillery has as many as 30 to 60 people come through the doors on the weekend for tours, events and drinking. Cunningham said he has had customers visit from Chicago and outside the state, including Pennsylvania and Florida.
Jaime McNamara, of Genoa City, Wisconsin, attended a tour with a friend about a week ago and already has been back twice.
“It’s amazing. I loved everything they had,” McNamara said, adding the business filled a need in the community.
Cunningham recently partnered with Joy Pinnau of Capron, also known as The Inebriated Artist, to host paint and sips at his distillery. The events include tours, sampling, a cash bar and all necessary painting supplies for $35 a person.
“We want more and more (local businesses) coming and getting involved with us,” he said.
Danielle Gulli, executive director of the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce, said the city prides itself on the number of small, independent businesses that have come to the area. She said Wondertucky Distillery is a “destination” type business that attracts people from outside of the community.
She said the Chamber of Commerce and city officials look forward to the “exciting things” Wondertucky has planned this year.