Two distilleries planned in Cedarburg

Two individuals are working on separate plans to open distilleries in Cedarburg.

Charles Radtke, a furniture maker in Cedarburg, and John Padberg, a project manager for Chicago-based Berglund Construction, both hope to open distilleries in the Ozaukee County community.

Radtke is asking the city make an amendment to its zoning code that would allow distilleries in areas zoned “community business district” or “central business district.”

“His hope is to put in a micro distillery in the city,” said city planner John Censky. We are not sure where. My guess is in the downtown area.”

Radtke could not be reached for comment.

Meanwhile, Padberg says he has been working on his plans for a Cedarburg distillery for about 10 months and hopes to open next fall. No location has been determined.

“Ideally I would like to be located in downtown Cedarburg, preferably in the Washington Avenue area, the historic district of Cedarburg,” he said.

Padberg says he is seeking a 4,000- to 8,000-square-foot space, preferably in an existing building. The distillery would have space for production and would also have space for tastings, a cocktail lounge and tours.

Padberg says he has dreamed of opening a distillery for a few years and market conditions and changes in government regulations have created an opportunity for him to move forward.

“Distilling is part of my family history,” he said. “My great, great grandfather distilled whiskey in the late 1800s in St. Louis.”

Padberg said he and his wife “fell in love” with the small-town, historic charm of Cedarburg during numerous visits to Wisconsin.

“My wife and I have wanted to relocate to Wisconsin for a few years,” he said. “We spend a lot of time in Wisconsin as tourists. We’ve been to Cedarburg many times. We love the historic side of the city. We love the small town feel.”

However, Padberg said he is not sure if Cedarburg can support two distilleries and he might have to change his plans if Radtke’s distillery opens first.

“There might be room in Cedarbug for two distilleries,” Padberg said. “Cedarburg is obviously my first choice. If (Radtke’s distillery opens) first, that may change things.”

Several distilleries have opened in Wisconsin in recent years including Great Lakes Distillery and Central Standard Craft Distillery, both in Milwaukee. When Great Lakes Distillery founder Guy Rehorst sought state approval for the business about 10 years ago, it had been decades since one had been opened in Wisconsin and the state had to update its regulations for distilleries, which then made it easier for other distilleries to open in the state. More than a dozen distilleries have opened since then in Wisconsin.

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