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Ravenswood

Koval Adds ASL Tour, Braille Menu Options At Ravenswood Distillery And Taproom 

“We want to figure out ways for people to have a good time, and part of that is making sure that good time is accessible,” Koval's founder said.

Koval's production distillery, 4241 N. Ravenswood Ave., has an on-site retail store.
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RAVENSWOOD — Koval Distillery has expanded the accessibility options at its Ravenswood home for fans with vision or hearing impairments.

Koval was founded in 2008 by Sonat Birnecker Hart and Robert Birnecker and became the first distillery in Chicago since Prohibition ended. The distillery consolidated its operations at 4241 N. Ravenswood Ave. five years ago and opened a tasting room last year.

The first tour of the distillery featuring American Sign Language interpretation launched this month with help from the Chicago Hearing Society. It will be a recurring event each season. 

The latest efforts at expanding accessibility for hard of hearing or deaf people came about after Birnecker Hart noticed her father was having a hard time hearing as he got older, she said. 

“He loves going out to places, but sometimes he wouldn’t be able to see the menu or he could not hear what people were saying,” she said. “We started doing these outreach and tours for some older members of our community, making sure it was comfortable for them.” 

This included making sure seats were readily available for people who may not be able to stand for long periods during a tour and offering written materials with large text for people to read as a supplement to the guided tours, she said. 

The tasting room menu also now has a Braille option for people who are visually impaired, Birnecker Hart said. 

“We want to figure out ways for people to have a good time, and part of that is making sure that good time is accessible,” Birnecker Hart said.

For more information on Koval’s accessibility options, visit the distillery’s website

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