The Tasting Panel magazine

June 2012

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Page 40 of 124

WHAT'S NEW Ahead Quarters I WIRTZ BEVERAGE MIXES TRADITION AND INNOVATION IN ITS NEW ILLINOIS FACILITY by Tom Caestecker, Jr. / photos by Jay Schroeder Eric Hay, Beverage Development Manager, Wirtz Beverage Illinois, pours a delec- table concoction in The Alchemy Room, an attractive training room with three bartending stations and a commercial kitchen. "We can host demonstrations for restaurant and bar staffs who want to create new menus," explained Hay. t might have once seemed a complete contrast. Two elements of Chicago's past: one a sturdy pillar of the business community; the other a community associated with turmoil. But, on the site of a racetrack in often-beleaguered Cicero, IL, Wirtz Beverage of Illinois recently opened a gleaming 605,000-square-foot headquarters. Located just west of downtown Chicago, the new two-story, corporate building and warehouse includes training facilities, offices, conference centers and 500,000 square feet of storage space. Reflecting its status as a major wine and spirits wholesaler, and as a commitment to the industry's future, Wirtz Beverage opened the facil- ity in grand fashion. Several hundred guests— welcomed by the Wirtz family and Chicago Blackhawks Ambassadors—enjoyed a mixture of what the future holds, plus historic relevance. Literally: Chicago's best mixologists were there to flamboyantly display their knack for creating avant-garde libations. And, a cer- emonial packing of a time capsule—to be opened in 2045 upon Wirtz Beverage's centennial—celebrated the company's legacy. Items placed Rocky Wirtz, President, Wirtz Beverage Group, proudly displays the business license for Wirtz Beverage Illinois from the Town of Cicero. 40 / the tasting panel / june 2012

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