AVONDALE – Whiskey is flowing at Judson & Moore, a family-run craft distillery that recently opened in Avondale after seven years of planning.
The 5,800 square foot tasting room and adjoining production facility are the latest businesses to join Rockwell on the River at 3057 N. Rockwell St., an industrial complex home to Metropolitan Brewing and Metropolis Coffee Co.
Husband and wife owners Elise Bergman, a fashion designer and hotel designer, and Collin Moore, an engineer, opened Judson & Moore in an early 1900s leather tannery last month. Bergman handles the creative side of the business and Moore is the head distiller.
The distillery specializes in whiskey – Moore has Tennessee roots – with a current menu of rye, bourbon, red corn bourbon and single malt whisky.
All of the whiskey is made in-house using a custom 500-gallon Vendôme copper pot still, Minnesota white oak casks and Midwestern grain, a nod to Bergman’s upbringing.
Guests can order whiskey flights from the tasting menu or whiskey-based cocktails from the bar. Bottles of Judson & Moore whiskey are also available for purchase in the tasting room, which is open 4-8 p.m. Thursday and 2-8 p.m. Friday-Saturday.
Judson & Moore is named after Elise Bergman’s father and company co-founder, Jud Bergman, who was killed by a driver in San Francisco in 2019. Elise Bergman’s mother-in-law and two others are also died in the accident.
Before Jud Bergman died, he pushed his daughter and son-in-law to start a creative business with him to combine all of their talents, Elise Bergman said. Jud Bergman was a tech finance executive who founded the now $3 billion company Envestnet.
“My dad, in a very colloquial way, was like, ‘I have this idea…you’re a designer. You’re an engineer. You’re from Tennessee. I think we should do some whiskey. A really fun time. , a-ha,” Elise Bergman said.
The couple worked for seven years to get the company off the ground, navigating not only the sudden death of their champion and co-founder, but also the COVID-19 pandemic, the city’s licensing process and a fire in 2015 that ripped the roof off the Avondale Building – while growing their family. They have three children.
Elise Bergman, who grew up in the suburb of Barrington and in the city, said it was “delightful and surreal” to finally be open.
“These times when we hit milestones, I certainly wish my dad was here; his joy was contagious. But it’s easy to go from feeling disappointed to feeling proud and happy, knowing how much he would have appreciated that community space,” she said.
In addition to serving whiskey, Judson & Moore is a kind of concert hall. On Thursdays, the distillery hosts local roots, Americana and folk concerts hosted by Sully Davis of Local Universe and The Hideout. The owners also plan to organize paid events with national tours.
Along with many other creative pursuits, Elise Bergman and Moore are members of a bluegrass band called Big Sadie.
Their connections to the Chicago music industry helped them secure distribution partnerships with bars and restaurants. Judson & Moore spirits are sold at Lula Café, Bungalow by Middlebrow, The Duck Inn, Mordecai, Atwood, The Charleston and The Long Room.
“Chicago is such an amazing city. I grew up here, I’ve been away for a bit, but I’m proud to be back here,” said Elise Bergman.
“We are surrounded by so many natural resources, amazing farms and farmers, and I feel like we try to represent Chicago well through our relationships and having a space for people to really enjoy the bounty from the lake and surrounding farms and the incredible musicians we have in town.
Go here for more information on Judson & Moore.
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