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Ari Klafter

Head Distiller Thornton Distilling Company and President Illinois Craft Distillers Association

Ari Klafter is the Co-Owner and Head Distiller of Thornton Distilling Company, maker of Dead Drop spirits, where he leads production and develops the recipes for the distillery's portfolio of whiskies, rums, gin, absinthe and bottled Old Fashioned cocktail. He is also the President of the Illinois Craft Distillers Association, leading the guild’s efforts to advance the interests of independent distilleries throughout the state. He completed his undergrad at Swarthmore College and later earned a Master’s degree in Brewing & Distilling from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland where he studied traditional whisky production with an emphasis on single malt whisky, the primary focus of Thornton Distilling Company. Ari forever fascinated by the world of distilled spirits and is an ardent proponent of the emerging category of American Single Malt Whisky.