Thursday, April 17, 2008

Landlord Strangles Goose

After 20 years of expanding the minds of Chicago beer drinkers, The
Goose Island Brewpub will close its doors at the end of this year. It’s a shame because that brewpub helped to make a name for craft beer in Chicago. The beer brewed at that location opened the eyes of many folks to the fact that better beer was worth their time and money. It helped to show people that beer comes in many shades and can offer a wide array of experiences. Somebody had to pave the way and Goose Island had a large hand in all that. Not to mention that they house the classroom for The Siebel Institute, one of America’s leading educational institutions for the brewing industry. But, Siebel will find another home – it might even spur a new direction in how they go about their process, and The Hall Family can build or lease a new space – it might be the location of their dreams that alleviates any issues they’ve dealt with at that location for the last twenty years.

This must be a real bummer for Will, the brewer that makes all the beer at that location. I imagine he really likes his job and the wide array of beers he’s able to make as a result. It’s also tough for groups like the Chicago Beer Society that have met there for some time. You won’t find too many establishment owners that welcome groups of people who bring their own beer and take up space where paying customers might sit. That’s pretty great. It’s also tough for the many people who frequent that pub looking for a good beer that might not make the trip to Wrigleyville or the next location. The next entity that leases that space will likely be much less interesting and add little to the cultural fabric of Chicago.

Chicago Tribune article that published the story talks about all this and also dives into their relationship with Widmer Brothers Brewing Co / Anhueser-Busch. With the help of the Brewers Association that debate their “craft beer-maker,” status. It’s kind of amusing, but that topic will be addressed in the next post.

Good Luck to the Goose, but at this point they don’t need it.

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