Dubuque's Distilling History
In 1864, a railroad builder named Joe Rhomberg opened Dubuque's first liquor distillery, Rhomberg & Co. Distillers. With sixteen 300-gallon fermenting tubs that could handle 1,000 bushels of grain per day, they produced at least 10,000 barrels of whiskey over the years.
However, the Federal Government eventually caught up to his operation, and around 1870, filed a suit of against Mr. Rhomberg for more than $755,000 in unpaid excise tax. (That's around $20 Million in today's market!)
He and his friends fought the courts every step of the way, and eventually landed in United States Circuit Court in Des Moines. By then, most of his property had been seized, but a judgment of $103,000 was still declared against him. By 1973, the distillery building was converted into the Iowa Pacific Flour Mill, near what is now the Dubuque Star Brewery building in the Port of Dubuque.
In July 2013, 140 years later, Paradise Distilling Company turned on its stills for the first time. We started serving paradise to the public in March of 2014, and are proud to report that we're all paid up with the feds, so you can enjoy our fine libations, worry-free!
(Special thanks to Encyclopedia Dubuque)