We met Jenny, one of the founders of Rhine Hall, serving hand crafted fruit brandies at an event. We really didn’t know what to expect, but after hearing about their authentic distilling process and passionate family story we were sold. The cocktails were just as wonderful as the conversation and it was at that point we decided to follow the father-daughter team as they continued to grow. After starting Saturate we new we had to go back for a quick chat and take a look into their simple yet refined process. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work.  

I own Rhine Hall distillery on the west side of Chicago with my father, Charlie. We specialize in producing all fruit brandies, also known as eau de vie, products 100% distilled from fruit with out any sugar, neutral spirit, or grain added. I live in Bucktown, Chicago with my husband and dog. We love traveling, exploring the city, and meeting new creative people whenever we get the opportunity.

Walk us through a typical day at Rhine Hall.  

A typical day at Rhine Hall does not exist!  Fortunately and unfortunately, there are new challenges every waking day. When I wake up there are a number of different areas of the business that need tending to. Some weeks/days we are distilling and very production-heavy. This requires me to balance any of my computer/administrative work with helping out on the production side of the business, i.e. bottling, distilling, labeling, etc. When we have slower production weeks I focus on sales, whether that be visiting accounts around the city, meeting and collaborating with other businesses, and/or the marketing aspect of the business, there is always a lot to do.


Where do you find inspiration? 

I find my inspiration from a variety of sources. One, I am inspired by my dad who is the hardest worker I know. I am  inspired to make this business thrive, starting with the minimal resources we have had getting started. I am inspired by other small business owners/entrepreneurs and the different outlets they take to improve not only themselves as people but indirectly helping promote their business in different spaces.  

How do you make time for creativity and collaboration?  

I interpret this question the same way as, “how and when do you see your friends?” My response would be, you have to make the time! The time may not exist when you look at your day/week, but to me, friends/collaboration/creativity are all necessary parts to run a business. Not only is it important to have the support and have fun, but it is what keeps you going, what keeps you looking at things differently from learning different perspectives.

What tips would you give to anybody who is looking to get started?  

Nike’s slogan: Just Do It! You can never be 100% prepared to run a business or know 100% your business will be successful before you give it a shot. You need to just go for it, do the best you can, learn from your mistakes, and just put yourself out there like you have nothing to lose. Obviously, don’t be stupid, but make educated guesses and stay focused on your goal.

You wear many creative hats–do you have a favorite?  

I like building and creating the brand identity part of my distillery the most. I like things to look very cohesive, organized, pretty, and sharp. Fortunately, with the distillery, we have expanded our product line multiple times to give me the opportunity to expand our brand identity concepts.

If you could live the life of another creative, for a day, who would it be and why?  

Two part question for me: A gift shop curator/interior designer. Traveling is one of my favorite hobbies, especially in parts of the world that are visually and culturally very different from the world we live in (my life in Chicago). I would love to bring back my favorite items, with stories, and sell them to people to add interesting/unique items in their house/apartment. Second part of this for me would be to use those items to do interior design and make a beautiful, unique, and lush home for someone to live in.

What keeps you motivated and making?  

To me, reality is, finding a way to live life the way I want to live it. Whether that be to make a certain amount of money, opportunities, achievements, all to live your life a certain way, I think it varies for everyone to get their own personal satisfaction and fulfillment. I have an idea of what makes me happiest and most satisfied, so that is what keeps me motivated and making. Having an understanding of what I need to make (socially, creatively, physically, economically, etc.) in order to live my life a certain way, keeps me motivated.

Photography by Mike Killion and Rhine Hall