This September we’re launching a month-long campaign encouraging Wisconsinites to request hand-crafted brandy from local, family-owned distilleries in their Wisconsin Brandy Old Fashioned cocktails.
“We’d love for everyone to ask for our North Wisconsin brandy when ordering their Old-Fashioned cocktails,” McQuillan said. “But more importantly, we want to encourage people to drink locally, support hard-working Wisconsin families and taste brandy from local distillers.”
To build awareness for their drink-local crusade, Hughes and McQuillan worked with the Wisconsin governor’s office to proclaim September as Wisconsin Brandy Old Fashioned month and the first day of fall (Sept. 23) as Wisconsin Brandy Old Fashioned Day.
“Wisconsin Brandy Old Fashioned month is all about showcasing and connecting Wisconsinites with great local distilleries,“ said Hughes, who is also a board member of the Wisconsin Distillers Guild. “Here in Wisconsin, the spirits industry supports more than 39,000 jobs from family farmers and truck drivers to glass-bottle makers and those in the hospitality industries. In all, Wisconsin distilleries impact billions of dollars in economic activity each and every year in our state.”
The Brandy Old Fashioned Hall of Fame
Starting Friday, Hughes and McQuillan will again ask folks from across the state and country to nominate individuals deserving of Brandy Old Fashioned Hall of Fame status. Anyone can nominate a potential hall of famer by going online to thecentralstandard.com/brandy-old-fashioned-hall-of-fame and explaining why he or she is worthy in 50 words or less.
“Last year, we inducted six folks from across the state and beyond into the inaugural class of the Brandy Old Fashioned Hall of Fame,” Hughes said. “There was a 90-year-old grandfather nicknamed Old Fashioned; the owner of a State-Fair winning Old-Fashioned recipe; and an out-of-stater who travels home as she just can’t find a quality Old Fashioned outside Wisconsin. That is what the Brandy Old Fashioned Hall of Fame is about: Honoring everyday folks who love and embody our state’s favorite cocktail.”
Brandy Old Fashioned Hall of Fame nominations will be accepted through Sept. 30 and a panel of judges will select this year’s inductees based on the strength of their nomination and their story. The 2023 honorees will be announced in October and an induction ceremony will be held in February
Brandy Old Fashioned Hall of Fame inductees receive a year’s supply of North Wisconsin brandy; a custom bottle of North Wisconsin brandy with their photo on it; lifetime VIP status at the Central Standard Crafthouse & Kitchen, the Midwest’s first urban distillery and restaurant at 320 E. Clybourn St. in downtown Milwaukee; and recognition in the Brandy Old Fashioned Hall of Fame in the Founders’ Room at the Crafthouse & Kitchen.
A Wisconsin-Wide Grassroot Effort
Starting Friday, Hughes and McQuillan will also begin advertising their drink-local campaign on billboards across Wisconsin and encourage Hall of Fame nominations at on- and off-premise accounts statewide.
“When we ask, people share that they often order the same old brandy in their Old Fashioneds because that’s just what they’ve always done,” McQuillan added. “When they taste ours and others made here in Wisconsin, they’re floored by the flavor. That’s our ask: Next time you order an Old Fashioned, give a brandy from a local distillery a try as we’ll put the taste of our North Wisconsin brandy up against any competitors across the country or around the world.”
Along with the billboards and call for Hall of Fame nominations, Hughes and McQuillan are bringing the campaign to life at their Central Standard Crafthouse & Kitchen by:
- Hosting weekly happy hours, where Old Fashioned cocktails made with North Wisconsin Brandy will be sold for only $5 from 5 – 7 p.m. every Wednesday during September.
- Offering Crafthouse & Kitchen brunch goers their first Old Fashioned cocktail free on Brandy Old Fashioned Day, which is Saturday, Sept. 23.
- Unveiling a new fall menu featuring North Wisconsin brandy-infused dishes.
- Introducing a private Brandy Old Fashioned cocktail class, which is perfect to book as a corporate team building event, client entertaining outing or birthday party at the Crafthouse & Kitchen.