The Spirit Guide: Thornton Distilling

If Thornton is good enough for Al Capone, it’s good enough for me!

It may be located in Illinois’s oldest standing brewery, but today Thornton Distilling is producing a collection of unique spirits. From whiskey to gin, Thornton has taken the age-old process and flipped it on its head to bring creative libations to the masses, just as their mobster predecessors did before them.

Al Capone’s Alcatraz mugshot

The original brewery managed to survive everything that Mother Nature threw their way—a flood in 1902, a tornado in 1904, and multiple fires. It would seem even the government was out to get the brewery when Prohibition became the law of the land in 1920. The brewery was sold but managed to survive by bottling soda… and secretly producing beer on the side. By 1922, federal agents raided the brewery and poured thousands of gallons of beer into Thorn Creek. It seemed to be the end of brewing in Thornton until Al Capone stepped in.

Today, not much has changed at Thornton Distilling. It still sits on the banks of Thorn Creek. It’s still producing high-quality alcohol (though this time around, it’s legal). And a little artesian well is still hidden away, 150-feet underground, bringing limestone-filtered fresh water straight from Lake Superior.

Perhaps that’s the secret to it all: the limestone caves housing the artesian well is producing some of the purest water for the spirits… and possibly even energy for some other spirits too.

Like so many other haunted locations with caves, the limestone acts as an amplifier for paranormal activity. If the legends are true, gangsters used the limestone caves beneath the distillery to interrogate, torture, and possibly even murder their rivals. Renovators did find human remains in the walls of the building back in the 1950s, so who’s to say great anguish wasn’t experienced down by the well? Who says that energy wouldn’t be heightened by the limestone leading to a powerful haunting at Thornton Distilling Company?

Learn more about Thornton Distilling’s haunting in The Spirit Guide: America’s Haunted Breweries, Distilleries, and Wineries coming July 2020! 

If you own a haunted bar, cafe, hotel, or restaurant and you’d like us to check it out, reach out to us on FacebookInstagram, or Twitter.  If you have a favorite haunted hot spot with great food and atmosphere and you’d like to share it with us, hit us up on social media or leave a comment below! We’d love to hear from you… Thanks for joining us, and Happy Haunting!


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