Koval Adds ASL Tour and Braille Menu Options to Ravenswood Distillery and Bar

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RAVENSWOOD – Koval Distillery has expanded accessibility options at its Ravenswood home for visually or hearing impaired fans.

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

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

The latest efforts to expand accessibility for those who are hard of hearing or deaf came after Birnecker Hart noticed his father had difficulty hearing as he got older, she said.

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

This involved ensuring seats were readily available for people who might not be able to stand for long periods during a tour and offering written materials with voluminous text to read as a supplement to guided tours , she said.

The tasting room menu also has a Braille option for the visually impaired, Birnecker Hart said.

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

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

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