By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Feb 20, 2024 at 11:02 AM

When Guy Rehorst founded Great Lakes Distillery in Riverwest in 2004, his was the first distillery to open in the state since Prohibition. And he had to go to Madison to get laws changed to make it happen.

In his wake others have followed and there are now distilleries producing whiskey, brandy, vodka, gin and other spirits across the state. That’s a reason to celebrate.

So hoist a dram or a cocktail at the Great Lakes Distillery 20th Anniversary Kickoff Celebration at 6 p.m., Friday, March 22, 616 W. Virginia St., in Walker’s Point.

There will be live music by The Erotic Adventures of The Static Chicken, a complimentary toast during which Rehorst will reflect on GLD’s story so far.

Cocktail attire is encouraged and there will be door prizes all night long.

On Saturday, March 23, and Sunday, March 24, GLD will offer hour-long tours with the retro sticker price of just $7. The tours, include a tasting flight of GLD’s six original spirits.

Tours are held at 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 p.m. Saturday, and at noon, and 2 and 4 p.m. Sunday.

Spots are limited, click here to register.

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 has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.