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Devon Liquor Moratorium Lifted By City So New Brew Pub Can Open

By Linze Rice | September 25, 2015 5:36am
 Developer Scott Whalen stands with husband-and-wife owner team Alex Drayer and Brittany Groot as they speak with neighbors about a brew pub they want to open.
Developer Scott Whalen stands with husband-and-wife owner team Alex Drayer and Brittany Groot as they speak with neighbors about a brew pub they want to open.
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DNAinfo/Linze Rice

EDGEWATER — A brew pub on Devon Avenue that required collaboration between three North Side aldermen to lift a longtime liquor moratorium was approved by City Council Thursday.

Developer Scott Whelan called the move "another win for Devon Avenue," adding that he was "very happy" about the vote.

D and G Brewing Co. is owned by husband and wife duo Alex Drayer and Brittany Groot, both Far North residents and graduates of Loyola University.

Ald. Harry Osterman (48th), Ald. Joe Moore (49th) and Ald. Patrick O'Connor (40th) had united this summer to hold community meetings on the development. The proposed site sits in Osterman's ward, but the moratorium on new liquor licenses on Devon Avenue stretches through the wards of all three alderman.

To lift the ban, the aldermen needed to convince their colleagues on the City Council to also back the change. The moratorium started over 20 years ago when the brew pub site was in O'Connor's territory.

After a packed community meeting in late July, the aldermen announced their support due to the "overwhelmingly" positive feedback from the community.

The brewery would brew two days a week, on Tuesdays and Saturdays, filling the immediate area with a slight "bready" smell, 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.

According to city law, the moratorium would be lifted for one year before being reinstated — at which point the aldermen said they would adopt a more "surgical" approach by re-imposing the ban in two-block increments.

Whelan said during a recent meeting he was waiting to get the green light on permits from the city to begin development at the 1221-23 W. Devon site, where he plans to build two stories of luxury residential units above the brewery.

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