ROCKFORD, Ill (WIFR) -- Bringing back the true spirit of Rockford. That's the goal of two comeback kids working to bring a new level of tourism to our community one sip at a time.
“We’re trying to produce something that hasn't been produced in 100 years so that people can actually taste something that they haven't tasted in over 100 years,” said co-owner of Grantview Distillery Addie Ford.
Owning and operating a distillery was never Addie and Tim Ford's plan.
“We met at Ryan International Airlines, their corporate office was here in Rockford, he worked in the pilot's division I was working in Human resource division,” said Ford.
After living in the forest city, the two had a unique opportunity to travel overseas to help start a cargo airline.
“I was a Rockford native, never lived outside of Rockford. I was eager to see what the rest of the world had to offer so we left and moved to Finland.”
After a few years the airline business brought the couple back to the states but this time they were ready for a change.
“We actually came back thinking if we don't stay in the airline business, we're going to have to do something to either create a business, become entrepreneurs ourselves or we're going to have to go work for somebody.”
So they decided to become their own bosses and bring their love for distilled spirits back to the forest city.
“With our skills, our background and what Rockford needs, this is something that we could offer. This is something we could take from start to finish and bring about a new level of tourism to the Rockford area.”
Since 2016 the couple has transformed their 22 acre property near the Rock River into a distillery.
“We really run everything from grinding the grain, mashing, to distilling to bottling labeling and then out to the distributor. We learned that Rockford actually has a distilling history. It was super important to us to reintroduce that back to the community.”
From the name to the ingredients they use, the Ford's wanted to incorporate the city's history into their product.
“I think people have somewhat forgotten where we came from. We actually overlook what would have been Camp Grant. That is why we named it Grantview Distillery.”
For Addie and Tim, coming back to Rockford and opening Grantview Distillery is about more than whiskey, rum or vodka. It's about bringing back the true spirit of Rockford.
“And to enjoy what we're producing that's all locally made and grown here in Northern Illinois. And to really taste a spirit that we feel is steeped in Rockford's history.”