CUSP Magazine: Winter Issue 2014


CUSP Magazine is a Chicago based publication focused on helping up and coming creatives gain exposure for their brand and products. Our company is a collective of highly motivated individuals who work together to bring a new voice to the creative community.






Written by Danielle Masterson

Photography by Brenda Hernandez

Situated in a clandestine back alley, patrons who enter FEW Spirits get the sense

they are walking into a speakeasy; however, the obscure establishment is anything

but. Those who are able to locate the craft distillery may be surprised to find that the

spirits produced in this humble warehouse have an international presence -- a far cry

from most first impressions.

Creating gin and whiskey using locally-sourced grains, FEW opened its doors in

Evanston in 2011. Evanston, the home to prohibition, makes for an unlikely place for

a distillery, given it was an infamously a dry city until 1972. But for founder/distiller

Paul Hletko, it feels like home (maybe because he lives two blocks away).

Another thing close to home? The brewing business. Hletko’s Jewish grandfather

ran a brewery in Czechoslovakia until the Nazi’s took over during World War II. So

when his grandfather passed in away in 2008,

Hletko decided to hang up his lawyer suit, put on an apron and continue the

family business. But instead of beer, Hletko settled on gin and whiskey.

The idea did not take long to catch on. FEW Spirits are available in bars as

close as The Publican in Chicago and as far away as Australia. They can be found

in about fifteen states, as well as several European countries, Hong Kong, Thailand

and Japan, to name a few.

One of FEW’s staples is its Rye Whiskey. Once cracked open, there is an instant

hint of citrus. It offers a well-balanced combination of fruity and woodsy (think

bubbled-over apple crème brulee) that leaves a warm finish. Long story short, there’s

a reason it’s the winner of Whiskey Advocates Craft Whiskey of the Year Award for


FEW’s other handiwork includes gin, white whiskey, and aged bourbon, with

small batches of limited-editions tossed in. Like the namesake, Hletko concentrates

on a few different spirits, with a focus on quality.

For $10, visitors can tour the facility, often led by Hletko himself, see the grainto-glass

production process and sample spirits that are arguably as rich as FEW

Spirit’s history.

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