LOGAN SQUARE — Expect to see local craft beers and spirits from the state’s first joint brewery and distillery on shelves in the coming months — made and manufactured in Logan Square.
Mercenary Brewing and Distillery, 2717 N. Maplewood Ave., is set to open for business this summer, according to the brewery’s three owners: brothers Paul Megalis, 27, and Ari Megalis, 32, and Adam Cieslak, 32, a friend since kindergarten.
The new brewhouse comes after about eight years of homebrewing, experimentation and product development, according to Cieslak, who is handling brewing and distillation alongside the elder Megalis brother.
When it opens, they say, it will be the state’s first joint brewery and distillery.
The three DePaul University graduates began with smaller versions of professional brewing equipment before eventually moving to open their own space. While all have full-time careers in areas like risk management, engineering and catering, they all feel that the brewery life is their calling.
“We started homebrewing, and it all snowballed from there. It finally got to the point where we’re taking it to a professional level,” said Cieslak, a Humboldt Park resident. “We’ve always talked about doing it, and it finally got to the point where we felt comfortable enough to go for it.”
The processes of brewing and distilling share equipment and techniques, according to Cieslak, so the brewery and distillery will operate in tandem to produce beers and spirits with similar, paired characteristics.
Mercenary’s first beer/spirit pair will be a flagship pale ale followed within a few months by a gin that uses the same hops as that pale ale, Cieslak said. A stout paired with a whiskey made from that stout is on the books for a future set.
“We’ve gotten very serious about it. Every waking second other than the day job is dedicated to this, and it has been for the last few years,” he said.
The brewery will open next to Logan Square's Green Exchange, which is billed as "the country's largest sustainable business community."
Mercenary plans to distribute beer and spirits locally before expanding across Chicago and the Midwest.
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