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The House of Glunz Is Like an Alcohol Museum | Chicago magazine

Photo: Jeff Marini

The House of Glunz, the venerable wine and spirits shop, turned 130 this year, and like a fine whiskey, it’s gotten more interesting with age. The current co-owner, Christopher Donovan, whose great-grandfather founded the place, presides over what might be considered as much a museum as a store. Among its most prized treasures: a Kentucky bourbon aged and bottled by his grandpa. It’s been on the shelves since Donovan, 49, was a kid. “He bought five barrels from this tiny distillery called Hoffman,” he says, noting that the operation was eventually bought by Julian Van Winkle III (bourbon lovers will know the name). “And then he just waited.” That particular bottle’s not for sale, but plenty of other rare finds are. There’s a bottle of Prohibition-era Albert Blanton whiskey, still in its thick paper box, which has a punch-out door meant to receive an alcohol “prescription,” a trick of the trade for illegal booze purveyors. It’s priced at a cool $7,000. If that gives you sticker shock, take heart: Not everything Donovan sells will set you back that much. His favorite whiskey right now? An 11-year-old Royal Brackla Scotch ($64) that was custom-bottled for Glunz. “I can’t make all my money selling old whiskeys,” Donovan says. “I have to keep finding the next thing.” After all, he adds, it’s adaptability that got Glunz through Prohibition: “We sold all the sacramental wine to the Catholic Church.” 1206 N. Wells St., Old Town

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