By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Sep 21, 2022 at 7:02 PM

Central Standard, Wisconsin’s largest distillery, has announced that it will be shutting down all production at their Milwaukee distillery on Sept. 22. 

But the reasoning behind the shutdown is likely not what you’d expect.

Co-founders Even Hughes and Pat McQuillan are taking a break from their usual grind so that they can travel throughout the State of Wisconsin, visiting local establishments and buying unsuspecting customers old fashioneds made with their North Wisconsin Brandy.

Their goal? Encourage Wisconsinites to request hand-crafted brandy from locally owned distilleries whenever they drink Wisconsin’s most popular cocktail.

“Of course we’d love for everyone to ask for our North Wisconsin Brandy when ordering their old fashioned cocktails,” McQuillan notes. “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 the first day of fall Brandy Old Fashioned Day and September as Brandy Old Fashioned Month.

“Wisconsin Brandy Old Fashioned Day 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.”

Important to note: Central Standard Crafthouse & Kitchen will remain open for normal service hours on Sept. 22. So feel free to stop by and raise a glass to Brandy Old Fashioned Day.

Nominate an OF devotee

While they are on the road,  Hughes and McQuillan will also encourage folks from across the state to nominate individuals who are deserving of Brandy Old Fashioned Hall of Fame status for the state’s newest hall of fame. 

Anyone can nominate a potential hall of famer by heading online and filling out a nomination form which explains why their nominee is worthy in 50 words or less.

“We continually hear almost unbelievable Brandy Old Fashioned stories,” says Hughes. “There are 88-year-old grandmothers who enjoy one every week; bartenders who’ve perfected their recipe over decades; and folks who’ve moved away but return home every month as they just can’t find a quality old fashioned outside of Wisconsin.

“This new hall of fame will commemorate those stories and honor everyday folks who love and celebrate the brandy old fashioned.”

Nominations will be accepted through Sept. 30 (the last day of Brandy Old Fashioned month). A panel of judges will select the inaugural class of Brandy Old Fashioned Hall of Fame inductees based on the strength of their nomination and their Brandy Old Fashioned story. The honorees will be announced in mid-October.

Brandy Old Fashioned Hall of Fame inductees will receive a year’s supply of North Wisconsin brandy; a custom bottle of North Wisconsin brandy emblazoned with their photo; lifetime VIP status at the Central Standard Crafthouse and Kitchen, 320 E. Clybourn St.; and their photo displayed in the Brandy Old Fashioned Hall of Fame located in the Founders’ Room at the Crafthouse and Kitchen.

Read more about the Old Fashioned Hall of Fame here.

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.