Shop Small In SRC This Holiday Season

Locally made artisan goods make for fine gifts

This holiday season, give the gift of one-of-a-kind items made right here in Starved Rock Country. We’ve assembled a collection of six amazing artisan businesses, crafting appealing presents and stocking stuffers. Beat the shopping rush and support these craftspeople who have all, in recent years, earned coveted spots on the Illinois Office of Tourism’s popular Illinois Made list.

ISC Sec won the Governor’s Cup Sparkling Wine trophy, Best of Class and a double gold medal at the 2022 Illinois State Fair Wine Competition. This wine also received a double gold medal at the 2022 International Cold Climate Wine Competition.

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 methods. Each bottle is personally handled from beginning to end, a time-consuming and labor-intensive process that yields impeccable results. Looking for an introduction to 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 their offerings. Proudly made with locally grown grapes, and served at the Illinois Sparkling Co. and August Hill Winery tasting room in downtown Utica, the three wines would all make excellent holiday gift ideas for those looking to shop small.

Fine Field Pottery

Fine Field Pottery, located 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 pincushions and honey pots. Consider getting the baker in your life a gorgeously glazed pie plate or French butter keeper. Check out Fine Field Pottery’s Etsy page; the products are shipped nationwide directly from the heart of Starved Rock Country. Looking to browse Fine Field Pottery’s items in person? Pay a visit to the Starved Rock Country Welcome Center and Illinois Made Gift Shoppe in Utica to see a selection of Fine Field Pottery pieces.

Star Union Spirits

300 Fifth St., 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, whiskeys 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. Act fast, as limited quantities of Star Union Spirits’ highly anticipated 75-25 Light Whiskey, made from corn and rye, are still available to purchase.

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 scenic downtown Ottawa. The city has a rich tradition of glassmaking, and for the last decade, artist Laura Johnson has been adding to the legacy, perfecting a signature line of 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 store if you’re looking to shop small this holiday season. Starved Rock Hot Glass’ popular glass Christmas trees and ornaments go fast, so be sure to drop by and see what’s in stock.

Tangled Roots Brewing Company

812 La Salle St., Ottawa

Tangled Roots Brewing Company is a brewery in historic downtown Ottawa, offering a locally grown farm-to-foam experience and a roster of delicious craft beers to 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. For any craft beer fans on your shopping list, pick them up a pack of Tangled Roots’ new limited-time Nattmara Imperial Stout. Brewed with unique Scandinavian wheat, featuring notes of plum, dark chocolate, maple and caramel, this exciting beer has been aging in Whiskey Acres Distilling bourbon barrels for nearly a full year.

Photo submitted by co-owner Kent Maze of Millstone Bakery featuring their pastry and bread display

Millstone Bakery

821 1st St., La Salle

Millstone Bakery, on downtown La Salle’s First Street, is an artisan shop specializing in handcrafted breads and pastries. An ever-growing selection of baked-from-scratch goods, use of high-quality ingredients and a small-town hangout atmosphere have earned Millstone rave reviews and devoted customers since it opened in June 2022. Now, it officially is being recognized with the prestigious award from the Illinois Office of Tourism. The bakery’s core line of pastries includes chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, pain au chocolat croissants made with semi-dark chocolate, ham and cheese croissants, almond croissants and classic butter croissants. You’ll also find an expansive selection of artisan breads, including their popular sourdough loaves.