By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Aug 30, 2023 at 10:01 AM

After launching the Brandy Old Fashioned Hall of Fame and inducting its first honorees last year, Milwaukee’s Central Standard Craft Distillery is opening the second round of nominations for inclusion in this pantheon of Wisconsin’s favorite cocktail.

And, of course, there’s much more to the celebration, which centers around Wisconsin Brandy Old Fashioned month, as well as the first day of autumn, Sept. 23.

“We want to encourage people to drink locally, support hard-working Wisconsin families and taste brandy from local distillers,” says Central Standard co-founder Pat McQuillan.

"That’s our ask: Next time you order an Old Fashioned, give a brandy from a local distillery a try.”

Six people were inducted into the Hall of Fame in its first year and on Friday, nominations will again open for the next slate of inductees.

Anyone can make a nomination through Sept. 30 by visiting and explaining in 50 words or less why the nominee is worthy of inclusion.

Then, a panel of judges will select the inductees from the nominations and the honorees will be announced in October with a ceremony to follow in Febrary.

“Last year, we inducted six folks from across the state and beyond into the inaugural class of the Brandy Old Fashioned Hall of Fame,” says Central Standard co-founder Evan Hughes.

“There was a 90-year-old grandfather nicknamed 'Old Fashioned'; the owner of a State Fair-winning Old Fashioned recipe; and an out-of-stater who travels home as she just can’t find a quality Old Fashioned outside Wisconsin.

"That is what the Brandy Old Fashioned Hall of Fame is about: Honoring everyday folks who love and embody our state’s favorite cocktail.”

Inductees get a year’s supply of North Wisconsin brandy; a custom bottle of North Wisconsin brandy with their photo on the label; lifetime VIP status at the Central Standard Crafthouse & Kitchen, 320 E. Clybourn St.; and recognition in the Brandy Old Fashioned Hall of Fame in the Founders’ Room at the Crafthouse & Kitchen.

As part of the month-long Old Fashioned festivities, there will be weekly happy hours with $5 brandy Old Fashioneds every Wednesday from 5 to 7 p.m. in September at the Crafthouse and Kitchen.

Brunch-goers at the Crafthouse & Kitchen on Saturday, Sept. 23 will get their first Old Fashioned for free.

Plus, the menu will get new North Wisconsin brandy-infused dishes, and Central Standard is offering private Brandy Old Fashioned cocktail classes, too.

“Wisconsin Brandy Old Fashioned month is all about showcasing and connecting Wisconsinites with great local distilleries,“ says Hughes, who also serves on the board of the Wisconsin Distillers Guild.

“Here in Wisconsin, the spirits industry supports more than 39,000 jobs from family farmers and truck drivers to glass-bottle makers and those in the hospitality industries. In all, Wisconsin distilleries impact billions of dollars in economic activity each and every year in our state.”

For more information on the promotions, the Hall of Fame or the Crafthouse & Kitchen, visit

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.