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That Huge Finch's Brewery Planned on the Chicago River Might Not Happen

By Paul Biasco | May 14, 2015 5:41am

LINCOLN PARK — That mega-sized brewery Finch's Beer Co. had planned for the Chicago River might not be coming to Lincoln Park after all.

The Mayfair-based brewery had announced plans in December to construct a brewery and tap room with boat access along the Clybourn Industrial corridor.

It appears those plans have fallen through.

The executive director of the community development corporation that advocates for businesses along the river said Finch's has moved on.

"They aren't interested in the site anymore," said Mike Holzer, executive director of North Branch Works.

Paul Biasco says delays at the Finkl site affected the brewery:

Ben Finch, founder of the brewery, told the Tribune in December that the deal was "95 percent complete" for a location on the west side of Lincoln Park north of Division and south of Fullerton.

A Finch's spokesperson declined to comment Wednesday.

"We have shared on our website what we would like to share at this time," the spokesperson said. "There will be further details soon."

The company's website still includes plans for a "Brewery on the River."

The industrial corridor Finch's was considering includes the former Finkl Steel plant as well as a number of other industrial companies.

The area has been a point of contention in the neighborhood as multiple groups push to have their visions for the riverfront land actualized.

Holzer claims the speculation over what would go into the site caused the Finch's discussions to break down.

"This location would have benefited their business," Holzer said. "It's my understanding that they've identified another site elsewhere, but outside the area."

Ted Wrobleski, an attorney and vice president of the Sheffield Neighbors Association, said Finch's plans came up during a key stakeholders meeting to discuss the Finkl site and industrial corridor earlier this month.

"What I took from that, was they didn't specifically say it's totally dead, but it didn't sound like it's going ahead," Wrobleski said. "The whole idea for the [brewery] kind of came out of the blue and now it's gone."


The plans for a Finch's brewery and taproom along the Chicago River. [Finchbeer.com]

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