If Matt Altman succeeds, the south suburbs may soon be known for their … vodka?
Altman, 33, is a lifelong Midlothian resident who has just opened Mid-Oak Distillery at 4704 W. 147th St. in Midlothian’s Tiffany Plaza, where he produces CD Vodka.
“I was home brewing my own beer for years, and a friend of ours from New Zealand told us that we should get into craft distilling,” he said, explaining the evolution from home brew master to commercial distiller.
“He said craft liquors were going to be the next big thing and here we are.”
Altman said the journey has not been without its ups and downs.
“If you ask my wife, she’s now on board with this,” he said with a laugh. “But at the beginning …”
And making your own vodka certainly isn't cheap.
“Everything we use is from the Midwest and that means it’s more expensive than if we got it from China,” he said. That includes everything from the bottles, which are made in Glenview and screened in Milwaukee, to the corn used to make the vodka, which is grown right here in Illinois.”
Altman opened the Mid-Oak tasting room on Thursday after the village approved his business license Wednesday night.
“Response from the village has been so great,” he said.
Altman said the first batch of CD Vodka left the distillery Thursday and he expects it to be available at most south suburban bars including Sullivan’s in Midlothian this coming weekend. It should be on shelves in local liquor stores by next week, he said.
Customers can sample CD Vodka at the tasting room, which is right next door to the distillery. If they like what they try, they can buy it there as well, he said.
“We can make 15 cases of vodka a day,” Altman said.
Mid-Oak currently only sells CD Vodka in 750 ml bottles—it's priced at $24.99—but that will change as the business grows. Altman said flavored vodkas will be coming later along with varying bottle sizes.
Other spirits may also be available in the future.
“We’re only in the preliminary stages,” Altman said. “But I plan on producing an American-made single-malt whiskey.”