Or Gotham, a New York-based illustrator, cites his inspirations as Robert Rauschenberg and Batman—and it shows. We first noticed Or's illustrations through his work with Warby Parker, and were immediately drawn to the witty and simplistic styles represented in his portfolio. Because illustration is a classic medium that's constantly adapting, we were curious to talk to Or and have him explore the idea of rethinking traditional spirit-making and cocktail practices through photographs and illustrations. 


Even classics have to start from somewhere.

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Though Phil Thompson and Katie Lauffenburger both grew up in Pennsylvania, they first met in Chicago, where they found a mutual love of art, architecture, and history. Now they live and work together in their home studio in the Ravenswood industrial corridor (which also happens to be around the corner from our distillery).

After reading about our neighbors in the Chicago Tribune, we decided to reach out and learn a bit more about Cape Horn Illustration and the inspiration behind their detailed hatch-marked illustrations of historical buildings, homes, and maps. We were able to catch up with Phil Thompson, who filled us in on their process, the role of nostalgia in their work, and Chicago’s ever-changing neighborhoods.

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With the rise of “Made in America,” it seems that now more than ever, people are curious about the craft—and the story—behind their goods. DEFY MFG. Co. is a rare company that not only offers, but encourages customers to step inside their warehouse, meet the makers, and get a glimpse into their “slow manufacturing” process.

“When someone walks in the door, they’ll say ‘Whoa, it really smells like leather in here. This is it!’ People are actually excited to see the space,” said Chris Tag, founder of DEFY. “I think for me, as a craftsman, that’s the interesting part of ‘Made In America.’ People have become so removed from manufacturing that they don’t even logically understand how it happens anymore. Being able to point out the sewing machine we used or to show someone what their bag looked like before it was made is a really nice thing.”

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Centralized at the grassy intersection of Kedzie, Logan Boulevard, and Milwaukee Avenue on the northwest side of Chicago, the bustling Logan Square neighborhood has been no stranger to change over the last decade. What was once settled by English and Scandinavian immigrants, Logan Square is now a highly diverse and lively neighborhood complete with community gardens, art galleries, farmers markets, bike-friendly streets, street eats, historic dives, and new craft cocktail bars.

Cody Bralts (@bralts) is a proud resident of the neighborhood, and we were thrilled to have him take over our Instagram account and show us how he sees Logan Square, both as an inhabitant and as a photographer.



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Above: Sketch of the KOVAL logo by Anna Posey

We first stumbled upon Anna Posey's beautiful photographs through Star Chefs, who featured her as a "Rising Star Pastry Chef" earlier this summer. But one look at Anna's website or Instagram account will tell you that she's a pastry chef with an especially artful eye—her relationship to food is heavily influenced by her degree in painting and drawing from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. 

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In the last few years, the introduction of Instagram has not only created an entirely new and innovative platform for artistic expression, but it has helped bring together like-minded photographers and creators as well. Minneapolis-based photographer Rita Farmer is an exceptional example of how social media can transcend beyond the boundaries of a screen. Together with her friend Jill Emmer, Rita co-created @Minnstameets - a hub for building community and fostering creativity through photography. Through @Minnstameets, Rita and Jill have partnered with local organizations like the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Explore Minnesota Tourism, and the Star Tribune to organize one-of-a-kind photography events.

Entranced by Rita's ability to present striking images that represent the people, places, style, and culture that make the Twin Cities (and greater Minnesota) truly unique, we were thrilled for her to share how she reimagines tradition during her family's annual trip to the North Shore of Lake Superior. 


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 In the Midwest, it’s hard to imagine a practice more traditional than corn farming, especially as you drive across the farms and plains of Southern Illinois during the the nearly 200-mile trip from Chicago to Cerro Gordo.

But when you slow down, get out of your car, and talk to some of the people involved with the farming process, you realize how innovation and technology have changed the industry—and helped produce the freshest, cleanest grains—over the last few decades.

Clarkson Grain Company has been working with corn and soya farmers from across the US and Canada since 1974. According to one of their nearby organic farmers, Allen Williams, the changes have been gradual, but significant.

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