January 19: State Line Distillery: Building Community One Bottle at a Time

–submitted by Andrea Kaminski

As a biology major at UW-Eau Claire several years ago, John Mleziva was interested in the science behind fermentation and brewing. Eventually he came to Madison to teach at Edgewood College. In 2012 he enrolled in a second master’s program, this time in Scotland and specializing in brewing and distilling. Then he returned to Madison, bought a small still and began testing recipes in his kitchen. He opened State Line Distillery in a beautifully rehabilitated facility on Madison’s east side in 2017. The first few years saw tremendous growth, but they had to shut the doors in March 2020 because of the pandemic. One day as John sat in the empty cocktail lounge wondering if the distillery would survive, he was asked to produce hand sanitizer for the state of Wisconsin. This kept State Line and many other distilleries afloat through the pandemic.

If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vb-FaNWmXZM&t=405s

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