JOLIET – The city has created a new distillery ordinance and rezoned the former Catholic diocese property for a winery planned for the location.
Sehring Property Holdings, an entrepreneurial group that acquired the property last year, has plans for a winery, tasting rooms and banquet facility at 310 Bridge St.
The 19th-century limestone house, known in the neighborhood as “the castle,” originally was built as a brewer’s home and later became a house for bishops when the Diocese of Joliet acquired the property.
The City Council on Monday approved the distillery ordinance and zoning variation needed for the winery plans.
“I’ve heard a lot of positive feedback from people in the neighborhood about this project,” Mayor Bob O’Dekirk said.
The project has received vocal support from leaders of the St. John’s Neighborhood Association, which advocates for the neighborhood where the property is located, and the Cunningham Neighborhood Council, which represents one adjacent neighborhood.
The property owners also have met with the Cathedral Area Preservation Association and have conducted tours to explain plans for the site.
“The owners did it right,” Councilwoman Jan Quillman said. “They met with all the neighborhood organizations. That’s why everyone is tickled pink to have this.”
The craft distillery ordinance creates a liquor code classification for wine and spirits production. The Sehring group also plans to make whiskey.
The old Fred Sehring Brewing Co. operated at the location before it shut down. The Sehring group’s plans include rebuilding the old brewery for wine production. The house, most recently used as the diocese tribunal building, would be used for tastings and banquets.