July 01, 2020

Distillery Labs And Greater Peoria Economic Development Council Announce Innovative Partnership

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Peoria, IL – Distillery Labs and the Greater Peoria Economic Development Council are pleased to announce that they have signed a partnership agreement for the two organizations. This represents the first such agreement for Distillery Labs and is designed to foster content, community and cooperation.

The agreement calls for three main areas of partnership:

  • Content: GPEDC will organize and host community building events in the months until Distillery Labs is built and open to the public, in conjunction with Distillery Labs. This will include the bi-weekly “Whiskey Talks” events that kicked-off in late May.
  • Community: GPEDC will work with the Distillery Labs team to build out the network of people who are aware of and involved with the Distillery Labs effort and work to expand the reach of the organization, as well as build lasting infrastructure that ensures that community members and the region’s startups and businesses are well-served by the facility.
  • Cooperation: The agreement between GPEDC and Distillery Labs will become a template for future agreements crafted by Distillery Labs.

“This agreement and partnership brings great opportunity for both GPEDC and Distillery Labs, and we believe itwill have a profound impact on the development of both organizations,” said Christopher Setti, CEO of GPEDC. “More importantly, we believe that we have crafted a model of cooperation that can be replicated for many other organizations that are hoping to support Distillery Labs and want to be involved in this exciting effort. On behalf of GPEDC and really the whole Greater Peoria region, I’ve been so thrilled to be involved with Distillery Labs these past couple years, and I’m even more enthusiastic as to what the future holds.”

Distillery Labs, which will be funded through a $10 million grant that is part of the larger Illinois Innovation Network, will be located in the Thomas Building, a 50,000 square foot facility formerly occupied by Illinois Central College in downtown Peoria. Distillery Labs will ultimately be a tech, innovation and incubation community designed to foster opportunity throughout the Peoria region. It will have classes, workshops, public-private partnerships, student opportunities, and more.

“This is another important step as we move this exciting venture forward,” said Bob Sehring, CEO of OSF HealthCare and Chairman of Distillery Labs. “Collaboration is vitally important when it comes to innovation. We appreciate the support the Greater Peoria Economic Development Council has already given – and will continue to give – to Distillery Labs.”

Initially, Andrew Ngui, who serves as GPEDC’s Director of Innovation and Startups, will primarily be responsible for implementing the partnership agreement, and will coordinate efforts between the two organizations.

The agreement calls for the following efforts:

  • GPEDC to coordinate and co-host bi-weekly “Whiskey Talks” events in conjunction with Distillery Labs.
  • GPEDC to share key communications from Distillery Labs with its members and host periodic focus groups to ensure that community members’ viewpoints are considered as Distillery Labs sets up its operations and facility.
  • GPEDC to coordinate early programming efforts around Distillery Labs’ three innovation focus areas: smart mobility, wellness, and food and farming systems.
  • Distillery Labs to ensure representation from GPEDC on its board. Christopher Setti, GPEDC CEO, is currently Distillery Labs’ board member.
  • GPEDC to consider moving its physical operations to Distillery Labs in the future.

“As the chairman of GPEDC’s board of directors, I’m excited to see this great partnership unfold,” said Mike Hinrichsen, who is also the Village President of Germantown Hills. “Distillery Labs will be an incredible asset for the entire region. Innovation is the past and the future of Greater Peoria.”

The agreement is effective immediately and will be in place until Distillery Labs opens its doors to the public.

If you are interested in crafting your own agreement with Distillery Labs, please visit this link or email info@distillerylabspeoria.org.


Distillery Labs is expected to open in 2021, and will be a 50,000 square foot technology and innovation center in the heart of Peoria. The Peoria Innovation Hub, launched in 2019, is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to supporting the development and operation of Distillery Labs.

The Greater Peoria Economic Development Council serves Logan, Mason, Peoria, Tazewell, and Woodford counties, a federally designated five-county Economic Development District. In collaboration with our local economic and workforce development partners, we drive economic growth in Greater Peoria through targeted business and talent development and attraction.