MILWAUKEE — Wisconsin will soon have its very own Brandy Old Fashioned Hall of Fame.
It’s part of a month-long campaign by Central Standard Craft Distillery in Milwaukee meant to encourage Wisconsinites to request local brandy in their Old Fashioned cocktails.
“We continually hear almost unbelievable Brandy Old Fashioned stories — 88-year-old grandmothers who enjoy one every week; bartenders who’ve perfected their recipe over decades; and folks who’ve moved away but return home every month as they just can’t find a quality Old Fashioned outside Wisconsin,” said Central Standard Craft Distillery Co-Founder Evan Hughes. “This new hall of fame will commemorate those stories and honor everyday folks who love and celebrate the Brandy Old Fashioned.”
Beginning on Thursday, anyone across the state or country can nominate someone who deserves Hall of Fame status. All they need to do is state why the person is worthy in 50 words or fewer. You can do that here.
But starting a Hall of Fame for the Wisconsin drink of choice was just the start for Hughes and his fellow Co-Founder Pat McQuillan.
In collaboration with the state governor’s office, they helped make September Wisconsin Brandy Old Fashioned month. The first day of fall — Sept. 22, 2022 — will also be known as Wisconsin Brandy Old Fashioned Day.
The two said they hope this will help build awareness for their drink-local crusade.
“Wisconsin Brandy Old Fashioned month is all about showcasing and connecting Wisconsinites with great local distilleries,“ said Hughes, who is also a board member of the Wisconsin Distillers Guild.
He added that in Wisconsin, the spirits industry supports over 39,000 jobs and affects billions of dollars in economic activity each year. That’s why it was important to them to create this Hall of Fame and proclamation.
People can submit nominations for the new Hall of Fame through the end of Brandy Old Fashioned month, or Sept. 30. Nominees will be judged by a panel, who will select inductees based on their story and the strength of their nomination. Winners won’t be picked until mid-October.
And what’s a contest without a hefty reward?
Winners will claim lifetime VIP status and a have their photo displayed at Central Standard Crafthouse & Kitchen, located in downtown Milwaukee at 320 E. Clybourn St. They’ll also receive a year’s worth of North Wisconsin brandy and a custom bottle of the brandy with their photo on it.
Even if you aren’t taking part in the Hall of Fame, there’s still plenty of fun to be had throughout the Brandy Old Fashioned month. Hughs and McQuillan said they’ll offer a specialty Old Fashioned on the Central Standard menu and sell commemorative t-shirts.
A free Brand Old Fashioned toast is also in the cards. That will be on Sept. 6 during the Crafthouse & Kitchen happy hour. On Sept. 22, Hughes and McQuillan will surprise Wisconsinites throughout the state by buying them Old Fashioned cocktails made with North Wisconsin brandy.
There will be a few other surprises, too, including the unveiling of Central Standard’s next Brewmasters Series collaboration.
It all may seem like a big fuss for one cocktail, but to Hughes and McQuillan it’s about supporting and tasting local Wisconsin brandy.
“That’s our ask: Next time you order an Old Fashioned, and especially during Wisconsin Brandy Old Fashioned month, give one from a local Wisconsin distillery a try, as we’ll put the taste of our North Wisconsin brandy up against any competitors across the country or around the world,” said McQuillan.