The history of three oaks, the Featherbone Factory

& Journeyman Distillery



1847 | EK Warren was born in Ludlow, Vermont  

1850 | Three Oaks, Michigan was Settled by Henry Chamberlain

Originally called Chamberlain’s Siding, the name was eventually changed to Three Oaks as Three Oak trees served as a guidepost for train engineers. None of the original three oaks remain today; the last was cut down nearly 100 years ago.

1864 | Warren begins working for Henry Chamberlin

1861 | American Civil War Begins
1865 | American Civil War Ends

1867 | Three Oaks becomes a Village

1883 | Innovation at the Feather Bone Factory

EK Warren, a staunch prohibitionist, founded the historic building that we now occupy as a Buggy Whip and Corsets factory. He revolutionized the manufacturing of corsets with the use of the softer featherbone, over the stiffer whalebone for corsets in the late 19th century. EK Warren’s success reached worldwide attention putting Three Oaks, Michigan on the map.

1899 | Standing President William Mckinley dedicates Dewey Cannon Monument

William Mckinley dedicates Dewey Cannon Monument to the good people of Three Oaks and their contribution to the Spanish-American War.


2000 |  Bill Travels to Scotland, & develops a passion for Whiskey while making life long friendship

Bill Welter graduates from Missouri State University. A four year lettermen on the Division 1 golf program, Welter applied for and received a British work Visa. In the Spring of 2000, he departed to St. Andrews, Scotland to work and gain a greater understanding about the game of golf and its origins.
Working at the Old Course Hotel Bill met Greg Ramsay, from Tasmania, and the two would develop a passion for Scotch Whiskey and a life long friendship.  Bill returned to the US in 2001 to work for his Dad in the family business. Greg both departed Scotland in 2001.  

2006 | Bill Travels to Tasmania

After developing the award winning Barnbougle Dunes Golf Course Greg turns his attention to the idea of turning an old grain mill into a distillery in his home town of Bothwell, Tasmania. Bill travels to Tasmania to see Barnbougle but also the site for Greg’s Distillery.


Early 2010 | Gaining experience

Bill Travels to Tasmania to spend time on the island at multiple distilleries to gain a hands on experience of the technical side of distilling.

Mid 2010 | distilling the first batch of rye whiskey

Welter would further his education in the summer of 2010 working with Master Distiller, Robert Birnecker, in distilling the first and only batch of Rye whiskey in the Ravenswood neighborhood of Chicago.

2010 | Bill & Chuck welter team up

Bill & Chuck Welter team up to buy the middle section of the Featherbone Factory. Renovations begin on what would become Journeyman Distillery

2011 | Journeyman Distillery Open's the doors

Spring Renovations Completed, Distilling commences, and the Tasting Room is Open.

Since opening the fall of 2011, Journeyman added new products.
The distillery prides itself on using the highest quality grains sourced from Midwestern organic farmers.

2012 | Distribution begins in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, & New Jersey

Since 2012 we have continued in expanding our distribution reach and currently have distribution plans in the works. To find our spirits at a location near you, check out our Spirit Locator Page!

2015 | Opening of Staymaker Restaurant, Warren Hall, Production Expansion

2017 | opening of Catering facility & Grainery

2018 | Opening of Welter's Folly