Craft beer is using more locally produced ingredients.

Craft Producers Adjusting to Spirits’ Growth Spurt

The Independent Spirits Expo held in Chicago Sept. 25 was a celebration of the rapid growth in the craft spirits sector. But a panel of industry insiders held earlier in the day discussed some of the challenges distillers face in addressing the growing consumer demand.

Frontier Whiskey Makers: The Original ‘Microdistillers’

With the Independent Spirits Expo coming up Wednesday (Sept. 25) in Chicago, what better way to warm up for one of the year’s biggest craft sampling events than with a tip of the hat to the nation’s original “microdistillers:” the frontiersmen whose stills produced the early bourbons and ryes that became the indigenous American liquors?

Chicago Wurst Festival Photo Gallery

The first annual Chicago Wurst Festival, which features sustainably and locally produced foods, got under way Wednesday in downtown’s Daley Plaza with an appearance by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Click the headline to view a photo gallery from opening day, and cursor over the photos to learn more.

Chicago's Daley Plaza farmers market with Picasso sculpture

Chicago’s Wurst Festival: Oktoberfest with Good Food Oompah

The three-day Wurst Festival in downtown Chicago’s Daley Plaza this week will feature the key ingredients of any good Oktoberfest: sausages and seasonal beers. What makes this salute to encased meats stand out from most German-style harvest festivals in the U.S. is its emphasis on responsibly and sustainably produced foods from local and regional producers.

Michigan State’s Spin on School Spirit(s)

The Artisan Distilling Program at Michigan State University opened a tasting room in July. The launch of the bar near the East Lansing campus fulfilled a longtime goal of MSU professor Kris Berglund, whose program had operated in a low-profile manner since he founded it in 1996. “We’ve kind of been the black ops guys,” said Berglund. “Now we’re coming out into the light a little bit.”

Master butcher Kari Underly

Breaking the Glass Ceiling With a Cleaver

Chicago’s Kari Underly is known nationally for her mastery of meatcutting. Now Underly, a third-generation butcher who grew up near South Bend in northern Indiana, is seeking to raise money to create the Range Meat Academy, which she says will be “the most comprehensive butcher training program in the industry.”