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Clintonville’s 451 Spirits Now Offering Tours and Tastings

Lauren Sega Lauren Sega Clintonville’s 451 Spirits Now Offering Tours and TastingsPhoto by Lauren Sega.
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Clintonville’s 451 Spirits is selling more than just liquor now. This week, owner Chad Kessler has started tours and tastings at his facility on Oakland Park Avenue. The venue might be small, but Kessler said the tours will cover a lot.

“A lot of tours, they bring you in, they show you their shiny still, they talk about where they started and why, and that’s kind of the end of it, and then they lead you to the gift shop,” Kessler said. “We’re trying to make it more workshop oriented.”

At 451’s tours, people will find out how whiskey or rum tastes and smells right off the still and compare it to its aged version. Meanwhile, he explains what “craft” means for him in the distilling business. For him it’s using roasted grains, and a rectification process that preserves the wild yeast, oils and esters that give the spirit its taste. At the end, tour-goers get a sample of each spirit, which include his Dear Johnny smoked apple favored whiskey, Writer’s Block rum, and Midsommer’s Night Absinthe, for now.

“We’re a tiny distillery. I have no desire to grow a ton,” Kessler said, adding that their size gives them room to experiment. “We’re going to do a lot of one-offs.”

These one-offs will only be available in the tasting room; they won’t be sold on store shelves. Kessler is considering bottling just the smoke distillate that he mixes into his Dear Johnny whiskey. He’s also partnered with Mikey’s Late Night Slice for their anniversary celebration. Making what he calls a Pizza Pie-chuga, Kessler is pulling inspiration from the Mexican drink Pechuga. For special events the drink is made by putting chicken, nuts, fruits, and herbs in the still. Kessler’s Pizza Pie-chuga is literally distilled pizza.

He’s working on adding more spirits —a regular whiskey, rum and gin — to his line as well. Unless he gets an exception, he may have to wait until August, as the state isn’t listing new spirits until then.

His current products and tours of his facility are available at 590-D Oakland Park Avenue in Clintonville. Tours cost $10 and run on Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 5 p.m., and Sunday all day.

For more information, visit 451spirits.com.

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