About FEW Standard Issue Gin
Today, hidden down a dark alley in a former chop shop, Hletko and his skilled team are producing a batch of Limited Edition FEW Spirits Standard Issue Gin. The gin is made from a mash of malted barley, corn, wheat and rye. While many distilleries buy neutral grain spirit that they further distill into gin or whiskey, every drop of FEW Standard Gin is made by hand at Hletko's space in downtown Evanston. Hletko buys his corn from a farmers' co-op in Indiana and his wheat and malt from farmers in Wisconsin. Then he mashes, ferments and distills the gin at his Illinois distillery.
With strong notes of juniper and fennel, FEW Spirits Standard Issue Gin is bottled at 114 proof in homage to the daily rations of gin given to sailors in the Royal Navy — the high proof ensured that their cannons would continue to fire even after the gin spilled on their gunpowder.
Frances Elizabeth Willard would not be amused. It's unlikely she'd approve of the cheeky name Hletko chose either, which is sometimes written as "F.E.W. Spirits." "People say she's rolling over in her grave," Hletko jokes. "I wouldn't know about that — the name is just a coincidence."
Don't miss your chance to pick up a bottle of Limited Edition FEW Standard Gin today.
Founded as a dry community, Evanston, Illinois was the birthplace of the Women's Temperance Movement and home to Frances Elizabeth Willard, an influential protagonist in the story of Prohibition. As the Temperance Movement approached a boiling point, abstinence slowly began to creep across the country and Willard and her league of temperance supporters turned Evanston into a stronghold.
For over 100 years, Evanston remained a dry town. It wasn't until Paul Hletko, owner and master distiller at FEW Spirits, began lobbying the town that the antiquated laws were lifted. "I'm the vice president of the PTA at my kids' school and I coach their soccer and T-ball teams," Hletko says. "People around town know me and what I'm about, which is handy when you're looking to change 100 years of laws."
According to Winston Churchill, "The gin and tonic has saved more Englishmen's lives and minds than all the doctors in the Empire," referring to the British officers using it to treat malaria in India.
Initially made for medicinal purposes, gin gets most of its flavor from the juniper berries added after the distillation process. It sure has come a long way from the Middle Ages, with the introduction of new botanicals, fruits, and spices, bringing it closer to people of all flavor varieties.
Check out our impressive selection of gins, find your new favorite in the Top 10 gins, or explore the Best gins under $50.