Mother’s Day is quickly approaching – if you’re still shopping for a gift, consider buying from one of Starved Rock Country’s talented Illinois Makers. The Illinois Office of Tourism’s “Illinois Made” list features some of the state’s most exciting artisans, including five award-winning makers found right here in Starved Rock Country. This program inspires locals and visitors alike to discover hidden gems, such as decorative art glassmakers, small-batch micro-distillers, farm-to-foam craft brewers and much more. Here are some of the regional artisans in Starved Rock Country making handcrafted artworks and boutique beverages your mom is sure to enjoy.
Tangled Roots Brewing Co.
812 La Salle St., Ottawa
Tangled Roots Brewing Company is a craft-made brewery located in historic downtown Ottawa, offering a locally grown farm-to-foam experience and a roster of delicious craft beers that perfectly complement your trip to the Starved Rock area. At the Tangled Roots Tap Room, you’ll find one-off experimental beers and limited-run collaborations with other Illinois brewers. Consider picking up a pack of TR’s signature summer beer, Belgian Wit. This crisp and crushable Belgian-style wheat beer is infused with orange peel and coriander, giving it a citrus-forward flavor with the spicy phenolics created by a traditional Belgian yeast strain.
Starved Rock Hot Glass
700 W. Main St., Ottawa
For a truly one-of-a-kind piece of art glass, pay a visit to Starved Rock Hot Glass in beautiful downtown Ottawa. The town has a long and storied tradition of glassmaking, and for the last decade, artist Laura Johnson has been adding to the tapestry, perfecting a line of signature hand-blown pieces. From her colorful and crowd-pleasing glass flowers, to modernist mixed-media pieces made from blown glass and reclaimed driftwood, Starved Rock Hot Glass is a must-visit Illinois Maker. Just in time for Mother’s Day, Johnson has released a brand new item: olive oil ewers. Fill these functional pieces of art glass with your favorite olive oil, balsamic vinegar or even dish soap. The stylish multi-colored dispensers also make the perfect addition to any cheese board.
Fine Field Pottery
Fine Field Pottery, nestled in the historic brick-making town of Streator, specializes in functional and fun pieces of stoneware. This art is just as beautiful as it is practical, with a wide array of items ranging from plates and mugs to pin cushions and honey pots. Consider getting the baker in your life a gorgeously glazed pie plate or French butter keeper. Check out FineFieldPottery’s Etsy page; the products are shipped nationwide directly from the heart of Starved Rock Country. Looking to pick up some pieces in person? Utica’s Starved Rock Country Welcome Center and Illinois Made Gift Shoppe (248 W. Canal St., North Utica) has a wide selection of Fine Field’s most popular pieces of pottery in stock year-round.
Illinois Sparkling Co.
106 Mill St., Utica
Illinois Sparkling Co. is deeply committed to quality and authenticity. Its line of traditional-method sparkling wines demands close attention to detail, unmatched by other winemaking techniques. Each bottle is personally handled from beginning to end, a time-consuming and labor-intensive process that yields impeccable results. Looking for an introduction in the ISC line of locally crafted sparkling wines? Look no further than their Experience Flight Trio, three traditional-method sparkling wines hand selected by the winemakers to show the variety and strengths of the ISC line. Proudly made with locally grown grapes, and served at the Illinois Sparkling Co. and August Hill Winery tasting room in downtown Utica, these three wines are some of the finest examples of Illinois Made products.
Star Union Spirits
300 Fifth St., Suite 135, Peru
This small-batch micro-distillery is producing exciting craft beverages inside Peru’s historic Westclox building. Star Union Spirits’ diverse portfolio of bottles includes apple, cherry and cabernet sauvignon brandies, grappas, rums, whiskies and vodka. Try a cocktail at their tasting room or purchase bottles to go. These hand-crafted spirits make excellent gifts for connoisseurs of locally made goods. Consider buying a bottle of Star Union’s Navy Strength rum, which won two double gold medals at the 2022 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. For a sample of the sorts of delicious craft cocktails that can be made with their products, follow Star Union Spirits on Facebook and Instagram.