Food & Drink

Collinsville craft brewery and distillery will be just the second in Illinois

How does a pork belly BLT and a craft beer sound? You can find out soon when a new microbrewery, distillery and scratch kitchen opens in Collinsville.

Located at 115 E. Clay St., Old Herald Brewing Co. and Ardent Spirits, Inc., will open its doors in late December, owners Derik and Whitney Reiser confirmed Wednesday.

“It’s all coming together,” Derik Reiser said as a construction crew continued work inside of the former home of the Collinsville Herald newspaper.

The building, which will have pieces of Collinsville history sprinkled throughout, has received a $2.8 million makeover from top to bottom. About $650,000 of renovation funds came from tax increment financing. The final bill for the project has not bee tallied, but Whitney Reiser said the projection looks to be on target.

“We’re a little overwhelmed, but we are really excited,” Whitney Reiser said. “We’ve been working on this for almost two years and I think the community is so excited for us to finally open. We just want to put out some tasty beverages and have some fun.”

A patio, event space, tasting room and lounging area will give customers space to spread out. Next year, guests will be able to take tours of the space to learn more about production on both sides.

A focal point in the room, Derik Reiser installed the distillery equipment that come from Austria.

The couple will serve gin from their distillery on opening day. They’ll also have four craft beers and food on the menu.

Executive Chef Krissana Frawley, who formerly worked for Beast Craft BBQ in Bellleville, will be in charge of the kitchen. Frawley plans to serve pork from a local farmer Chad Rensing. A pork belly BLT, burgers and beef cheeks are on the menu that will compliment the beer and craft spirits.

Torin O’Brien will serve as brew master. Eventually eight different beers will be available at the brewery. Four will be available when it opens.

When Old Herald opens, it will become just the second brewery and distillery combination in Illinois.

“It feels like the right time and the right place,” Derik Reiser said before construction began earlier this year. “We’re in the heart of the metro-east. There’s no craft brewing and distillery experience like this.”