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'Drink Local, Walk Home,' Owner of Proposed D and G Brewing on Devon Says

By Benjamin Woodard | April 21, 2015 5:29am
 Developer Scott Whelan plans to build residential units atop the storefronts at 1221-27 W. Devon Ave.
Developer Scott Whelan plans to build residential units atop the storefronts at 1221-27 W. Devon Ave.
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DNAinfo/Benjamin Woodard

EDGEWATER — The prospective operators of D and G Brewing Co. had a simple message Monday when pitching their business to residents: "We want to be artisanal, we want to be small, we want to be a community."

Those were the words of Alex Drayer, sitting next to wife and brew partner Brittany Groot, who plans to open the brewery and taproom at 1221-23 W. Devon Ave., which is being gutted and rehabbed to add two storefronts beneath three floors of new residential units.

Developer Scott Whelan intends to sign a lease with a restaurant at the corner of the building and allow D and G to open in the storefront on the east.

Whelan, Drayer and Groot met with a small neighborhood group Monday night to ask for support of the plan that would require zoning to be changed to commercial. The group unanimously supported the zoning change.

"We believe in them, and their business model," said Whelan, who also helped develop Lincoln Square's Fountainhead. "We believe in beer; I don’t know how else to say it."

A large moratorium on the sale of alcohol, ranging from North Broadway to Ravenswood Avenue, would also need to be lifted with the cooperation of the three aldermen with territory along the stretch, said Dan Luna, chief of staff to Ald. Harry Osterman (48th).

Drayer and Groot said they're up for the challenge of cutting the red tape. The brewery would produce about 500 barrels of beer a year — or about 1,000 kegs.

While that's not enough to distribute on a large scale, owners hope to provide suds to some of nearby bars, like Cunneen's down the street.

Groot said they hope residents living nearby are their biggest customers.

"That’s sort of the point — come in and have a beer," she said. "Drink local and walk home."

Drayer, who would take care of the day-to-day operations, said the taproom would be similar to Half Acre Beer Company's taproom on Lincoln Avenue and include about 50 seats. But D and G would only produce a fraction of the beer that Half Acre does, he said.

The brewery would make four beers, including a saison, IPA, American Stout and American Amber, and an occasional seasonal beer. The duo said they learned to brew in Colorado, where they both taught criminology at the University of Northern Colorado. Before Colorado, they both attended Loyola University in the neighborhood.

"One of the reasons we chose this area, well, frankly, I like the feel of it," Groot said. "I like this neighborhood and seeing some businesses on Devon I really like makes me want to open on Devon."

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