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Kennay Farms Distilling

our story

Rick and Doris Kennay spent a lifetime building their family farm and instilling a love for agriculture in their children: Kaleb, Aubrey, and Grace. When Kaleb, Aubrey, and their nephew, Adam, returned to the farm, they looked for ways to diversify.

At Kennay Farms Distilling, we bring you family crafted spirits created from local grain that is produced, milled, and distilled, all by a member of the Kennay Family. As sixth generation farmers, we know a superior product takes care, heart, and hard work.

creation of the "kennay lady"

We pursued a logo that would honor women in the spirits and agricultural industries. Strong, independent women have inspired us from our family farm to the face of our business.

Dusty Horner, a Rochelle native and lifelong family friend, used this inspiration to create the “Kennay Lady.” Dusty was an artist and sculptor for DreamWorks Animation and was the lead sculptor for Disney's Classic collectibles line. With his sketches completed, Dusty enlisted Chad Aulwes, a talented digital artist to bring to life this beautiful woman working towards something she believes in.

Kennay Farms

SIXTH GENERATION FARMERS
FAMILY CRAFTED SPIRITS

1880's

Lycergus and Mary Ann McKennay started in Singers Glen, Virginia. They later followed their son, Dewey, to Franklin Grove, IL. “Kurg” changed their name from McKennay to Kennay.

Fred and Amelia Schrader immigrated from Germany. They traveled from New York to Illinois by covered wagon and settled near Franklin Grove, to farm and work the railroad.

1919

Dewey Kennay married Elsie Schrader. They had four children: Mary, Viv, Donald, and Jim. They lived in “the swamp” south of Franklin Grove, where Dewey worked the high line and railroad.

Dewey purchased his first tractor, a 10-20 McCormick-Deering. He later traded this for a1926 Farmall.

1941

Dewey moved his family to Prairieville, where their son, Don, met Rita Vock. They milked cows for seven years before Dewey moved his family south of the King Farm on Daysville Road. Dewey later acquired the King Farm, where his grandson, Ron Kennay, lives today.

1951

Don and Rita married. They had five children: Ron, John, Donnie, Richard, and Joan. They grew up helping their Dad on the farm. In 1966, Don built the house on Route 38 where he still lives at age 94. All the children are currently involved in agriculture in the Ashton area.

1962

Don purchased his first combine, paying
$12,500. It was the biggest one in production with a four row corn head and 16 foot soybean head. He was in high demand for custom combining in the area.

1982

Don and Rita’s son, Richard, married Doris Krug. Rick and Doris Kennay purchased their first farm outside of Ashton in 1986.

They had three children: Kaleb, Aubrey, and Grace. In 1995, they purchased “The Home Farm” on Prairie Road in Ashton. The “Kennay kids” grew up working on the farm and raising animals.

2016

Kaleb, Aubrey, and a nephew, Adam, returned to the farm after college. To add value and sustainability to their business, Kennay Farms Distilling was created.

2019

Kennay Farms Distilling's Grand Opening in downtown Rochelle, IL brought 100s of people from all over the state.  Kennay Farms creates vodka, gin, and whiskey from grain grown, milled, and distilled all by a member of the family.

the kennay family

Rick Kennay

Owner
Rick has had a passion for farming and business his entire life. After a successful 35 year career in seed sales, he turned his attention to diversifying the family farm by turning his crops into spirits.

Doris Kennay

Owner
Doris has farmed alongside her husband since they married in 1982 while also managing her own court reporting business. She brings reporting and legal skills to the family businesses.

Aubrey Quinn

Marketing & Logistics
Aubrey is Rick and Doris’ daughter. She graduated from the University of Illinois with an Agricultural Economics degree. Aubrey oversees daily operations at the farm and the distillery.

Kaleb Kennay

Farm Manager
Kaleb is Rick and Doris' son. He graduated from Illinois State University with a degree in Agriculture Industry Management. He is the production manager at the farm.

Adam Kennay

Head Distiller
Adam is Rick and Doris’ nephew and is the distiller at Kennay Farms. He served in the United States Military and holds a Biology and Chemistry degree from Northern Illinois University.

Don Klatt

Head Brewer
Don taught Adam the art of distillation at the Rochelle ethanol plant and has been brewing beer for over a decade. His vast experience includes innovative flavors to expand your interest in craft beer.

Evan Quinn

Sales and Marketing
Evan is Rick and Doris’s son-in-law. He spent many years as a firefighter/paramedic before studying agriculture at Missouri State University; he now provides grain marketing services and manages sales at the distillery.

Jen Herrera

Event Coordinator
Jen brings so much enthusiasm and creativity to an event! She is a graduate of Northern Illinois University and lifelong Rochelle resident.

Molly Petry

Sales Representative
Molly grew up on a farm in Rochelle so she is the perfect fit for Kennay Farms Distilling! She is a friendly face behind the bar, an asset to the production floor, and represents our brand at tastings and retailers.

accolades

Vodka and gin won a Silver Medal at the Denver International Spirits Competition with entries from over 30 countries.

The Hub Theatre historical renovation by GWA Studio earned the esteemed American Institute of Architects Prairie Award. 

Selected as an "Illinois Maker" in the Illinois Made program.

Head Distiller, Adam Kennay, graduate of Moonshine University in Kentucky had his gin chosen as "best gin recipe" in his graduating class.

Blackhawk Tourism and Convention Bureau recognizes as only craft distillery and brewery in the region.

Whiskey currently being reviewed by the renowned "Whiskey Advocate" and "Barrel Brothers". Ratings coming soon!

Earned recommendation badge from "Restaurant Guru" as top places to visit.

our transformation

The historic Hub Theatre opened as an art deco style theatre in 1931 as part of the Algers Theatre Chain; seating nearly 950. In the 1980s, it split into three screens and operated as a first run movie house until 2011. In 2016, Rick was immediately drawn to the natural brick, height of the ceiling, and historical presence of the building. After 2.5 years of renovation with a team of historical experts, the theatre was given new life as Kennay Farms Distilling.
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