Kennays expect to open distillery soon

Main lobby and gift shop to be open during upcoming downtown Christmas walk; several old theater features part of design

It has been a project over two years in the making and the Kennay family is in the home stretch of construction of their distillery and brewery in downtown Rochelle.

Although opening day is weeks away, the Rochelle community is invited to take a sneak peek at the new Kennay Farms Distilling facility during the Old Fashioned Christmas Walk on Friday, Dec. 7. 

The main lobby and gift shop will be open to the public. Several items will be available for purchase including some of the theater’s artifacts and locally made specialty items.

The Kennay family has been renovating the historic Hub Theater since July of 2016 and has strived to blend the 1926 original theater with the new. Kennay Farms Distilling will host tours and tastings and offer a place for meetings and conferences or a spot to relax over spirits or craft beers.

“Anyone that has been in the theater before will definitely know and feel it,” said Aubrey Quinn, Marketing and Logistics for Kennay Farms Distilling. “We have kept many of the original features … if anything could stay, they are definitely here. We also have a special display with pieces from the theater.”

Much of the finishing touches are being put in place including the veterans display and the wall of family history inside the main area to showcase the Kennay family beginnings. The materials used in the distilling and brewing process comes from their farm 10 miles west of Rochelle.

The fifth generation farming family has also incorporated trees from the woods on their property to make the conference tables. 

The conference room, which is located upstairs in what was the theater’s balcony, can hold between 20 and 30 people. A 15-person bar overlooks the distillery and brewery in the tasting area set up with pub-style tables, with a total capacity of about 100 people.

“It’s been a learning process for all of us,” said Quinn of the renovation process. “It has been a family effort, and I’m proud of them all. My sister is a huge asset, she and her husband are engineers and they have provided support and are very crafty.”

Quinn said the plan is to be open five days a week with scheduled times for tours of the distillery and brewery, which includes complimentary tastings. Closer to the summer, the rickhouse (bottling and storage facility) will also be incorporated into the tour. 

For more information and news on when to expect the grand opening, visit the website 

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