From Mad Men to jazz bands

When Lynnea Katz-Petted hosts a corporate event or meeting, she often chooses Great Lakes Distillery in Milwaukee’s Walker’s Point neighborhood.

In June, the Rebuilding Together of Greater Milwaukee chief executive officer hosted a volunteer thank you event at the distillery for about 150 of its Rebuilding Day volunteers.

It’s the nonprofit’s chance to serve food and drink to the 500 volunteers who help complete free home repairs for senior citizens and people with disabilities in the community.

This is the second year Katz-Petted has chosen Great Lakes for the event. Last year, it was a casino theme with games to play. This year, Rebuilding Together hired a jazz/rock band to provide an evening of entertainment.

Rebuilding Together rented out the bottom floor of the facility, and attendees were treated to distillery tours and tastings throughout the evening.

Katz-Petted said she enjoys working with Great Lakes Distillery founder Guy Rehorst and his team because of their professional skill and expertise.

“They’re very good about details and reminding you if you forgot something,” she said. “If they say they’re going to do something, they do it and they do it right.”

The negotiable package cost also was reasonable, Katz-Petted said.

“If you have your budget, they’re really willing to work with you and provide some options depending on what kind of event you want to have or how much space you want to take,” she said.

Ellen Homb also recently hosted an event at Great Lakes for her Milwaukee advertising, marketing and design company, 2-Story Creative. She decided to host her 2012 holiday party at a distillery, since it was themed after the Mad Men television show.

2-Story has hosted a holiday party every other year since 2008. Initially, the parties were held at the company’s Walker’s Point offices.

“The reason I decided to have it at (Great Lakes) was that our parties were getting so large,” said Homb, owner and president of 2-Story. “We just thought (Great Lakes) would be perfect because cocktails were popular in the 1960s.”

The agency rented out the second floor tasting room for the soiree, and founder Guy Rehorst hosted a distillery tour about halfway through the event.

There were about 100 attendees for the party, dressed in 1960s Mad Men costumes. Guests received favors with sample bottles of Great Lakes spirits.

Since it was 1960s themed, the staff at Great Lakes developed some special cocktail options for the party. The Fish House Punch, for example, contained lemon juice, sugar, peach brandy, whiskey and tea. There were also Tom Collins, old-fashioned and white Russian drinks on the menu.

“They loved it,” Homb said. “There was more space to move around, and they loved the fact that they were able to go see the tour and participate in the tour.”

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  • Greyhound – Gin and grapefruit juice
  • White Russian – Vodka, house made coffee liqueur and cream
  • Old Fashioned – Whiskey, cherry, orange, twist, sugar, bitters and seltzer
  • Tom Collins – Gin, fresh lemon, sugar topped with seltzer
  • Fish House Punch – Lemon juice, sugar, peach brandy, whiskey and tea.
  • Punch – Hibiscus infused gin, honey, lime juice, bitters topped with seltzer.

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