WhiskyFest Speaker Paul Hletko

Paul Hletko

Founder & Master Distiller  |  FEW Spirits

A maverick for the ages, Paul Hletko wore many hats before launching FEW Spirits, but one thing has always remained consistent throughout —he loves to make new things. Whether that was making blueprints as an engineer, deals as a lawyer or music for his rock-n-roll band, at his core Paul is a creative and always wants to bring something to the table that hasn’t been done before.

”All my life, I’ve tried to be a creative person and beat to the sound of my own drum,” says Paul. “At the end of the day, I like to have created something that didn’t exist that morning and offers something completely different.”

FEW Spirits was and is exactly that. And while that notion, and Evanston’s history itself led to the creation of FEW, the biggest inspiration for Paul was his own family history. Prior to World War II, Paul’s grandfather owned a large brewery in what is now the Czech Republic and after losing the brewery to the Nazi invasion he fought the remainder of his life to get the brewery back. When his grandfather passed away and Paul was at the end of his time with the music industry, he decided to start a distillery of his own. He says, “I wanted to create something that would honor my family history but didn’t want to try and replicate it. With FEW, I am able to celebrate my roots while being able to create something new.”

In 2011 Paul opened the FEW Distillery and since then has produced award winning spirits that are original, distinctive and playful. His love for the nuances & flavor of whiskey and his flexibility to innovate with gin have made them FEW’s backbone products, but he continues to play around and innovate daily with limited expressions and new collaborations. In the future, Paul aspires to take FEW to an even bigger production facility where he and his team can continue to produce their liquid for enthusiasts around the world, while still remaining true to their craft roots.