EDGEWATER — If all goes well for D and G Brewing Co. owners Alex Drayer and Brittany Groot, later this winter people in the neighborhood will be coming out of hibernation to enjoy a homemade craft beer in the taproom of their brand new family-owned brewery at 1223-23 W. Devon Ave.
At a community meeting Tuesday night, aldermen from three bordering wards — Ald. Harry Osterman (48th), Ald. Joe Moore (49th) and Ald. Patrick O'Connor (40th) — joined developer and property owner Scott Whalen, Drayer and Groot to discuss plans for the brewery, as well as the need to lift a liquor moratorium in the area.
The property falls on the south side of Devon which is within the 48th Ward, while the north side of Devon is home to 49th Ward residents.
The community meeting drew a wall-to-wall crowd from almost equally the two wards. Attendees were eager to ask questions and learn more about the plans to shake things up on a slowly revitalizing Devon Avenue.
When asked who didn't support the idea of lifting the moratorium, only five people in a packed room raised their hands.
Among the supporters was one man who said he and his wife were thankful for the pair in bringing their business to Edgewater.
"There's a lot of benefit for a revived Devon between Broadway and Clark, so I'm grateful to have entrepreneurs like yourselves," he said, drawing applause from the room.
Moore jokingly described the unity among residents as a "hands across Devon kind of thing."
How D And G Brewing Co. Would Work
The brewery would brew two days a week, on Tuesdays and Saturdays, filling the immediate area with a slight "bready" smell as a result of the beer's ingredients going through the boiling processes and traveling out the exhaust, Groot said.
The business would be open four days a week, Thursday through Sunday, from about 1 p.m. to midnight, mostly under Drayer's watch as Groot continues her full-time job as a criminal justice researcher for the state.
The pair said of the approximately 2,000-square-foot interior, about 1,100 square feet would be dedicated to the brewing process, which customers can take tours of and watch through windows.
D and G plans to brew 10-barrel batches (or approximately 20 kegs) in five or six 7-foot-tall barrels with their own personal recipes, mostly created by Drayer.
"And they're not half bad," Groot said.
The selections would include a red ale (or amber), IPA, stout and saison, with the potential for seasonal brews as well, the couple said.
Growlers would be available for purchase by the public, with the option to come in and refill. They would come in two sizes, a 64-ounce (about 4½ beers) and a 32-ounce, or about 2½ beers.
The other 1,000 square feet would go toward a 52-seat dining room that would not serve any food or outside beer, but would offer free popcorn and allow patrons to bring in food or order food from nearby local restaurants.
What Happens Next?
Whalen, who said he has a "track record of wanting to help start-ups" said he was waiting on permit approvals from the city to begin reconstructing the building he had to tear down "for safety reasons," he said.
He also said he's been working on getting someone, preferably a restaurant, to take the space at 1227 W. Devon, adjacent to the brewery, but said with certainty it would not be a medical store or mattress store.
"I feel like [Drayer and Groot's] business is a step in the right direction for Devon," Whalen said.
Once the building is standing, Drayer and Groot said they expect to open sometime early next year, preferably between January and March.
Until permits are in place and work is underway, the duo says they feel right at home on the edge of Rogers Park and Edgewater, and want to return to the area near Loyola that had given them so much years earlier.
"We were looking for places in areas back in Chicago that would kind of be more open to a smaller joint that hopefully could just exist on the local community support," Groot said. "Right now you're served by two breweries, neither of which are brewed in this area, so we'd kind of be unique in this location."
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