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p09 Korte LuitjohanThe outside of the former Collinsville Herald building.By ROBERTA CODEMO
    Korte & Luitjohan is working with owners Derik and Whitney Reiser to turn the former Collinsville Herald building in Collinsville into a microbrewery and craft distillery.
    The $2.8 million design-build construction project is scheduled for completion by the end of this summer.
    The city is contributing $650,000 from tax increment financing under a redevelopment agreement signed Feb. 12.
    Located at 115 E. Clay St., the building is the former home of the Collinsville Herald newspaper and has been vacant for years. “There’s a lot of history in this building,” said Director of Design Construction Services Scott Muentnich, adding that they were approached by the building’s owners to handle the design and renovation work.
    Work began more than six months ago. For a project like this, K&L works with the owner and architect throughout the entire design process from budgeting to material selection to finding cost effective solutions. “We become partners with the owner,” said Muentnich. “We’re there to help them create their business and help ensure a successful project for the owner and the community.”
    There is a long history of brewing and distilling in Collinsville. The new business will tie into the area’s history and the name comes from the building’s original deed. The craft distillery will operate under the name Ardent Spirits, while the brewery will operate under the name Old Herald Brewing Co.
    Renovation of the 15,000-square-foot space is scheduled to begin next month, and includes adding a kitchen, event space, tap room and production area. Work will begin on the roof, interior walls and kitchen to bring everything up to code.
    Craft beer will be brewed on one side and a distillery will produce vodka, gin and whiskey on the other. The distilling area will be on display, and patrons will be able to view the process. Personal tours will be available.
    The owners envision the space as a destination experience with a restaurant and event space for special events, parties and other gatherings.
    Korte & Luitjohan of Highland is a commercial contractor delivering design-build and construction management in the Metro East St. Louis and central Illinois area for 60 years.
    As a family-owned business that grew from a backhoe and grit to what we are today, it’s very rewarding for us, on a personal level, to help others get started in their new business,” Muentnich said.