E-Malt. E-Malt.com News article: USA, IL: Starved Rock Brewing hoping to be operational in La Salle within the next 18-24 months

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E-Malt.com News article: USA, IL: Starved Rock Brewing hoping to be operational in La Salle within the next 18-24 months
Brewery news

A new brewery will be quenching the thirst for local beer in La Salle, mywebtimes.com reported on September 3.

Marci Hughes, who recently purchased a building at 440 First St. that will become the home of Starved Rock Brewing, hopes the brewery will be operational within the next 18 to 24 months.

"It's a conservative estimate," she said. "But especially when we have to do a full build out it makes sense to be cautious with an estimate."

Hughes hopes to outfit the building with environmentally friendly energy sources including solar, wind and geothermal, depending on recommendations from an architect.

"We want to have as small of a footprint as possible," she said. "It is important to us that we are very efficient and green. It doesn't make sense for us not to do that when we are exalting Starved Rock and the natural environment we have here. We want to take care of it."

The empty building, previously a meat market, will need renovations to convert it to a brewery.

Hughes owns Kinderhook Tap, a restaurant and bar in Oak Park, which features a variety of craft beers on tap.

"In 2010, we started a restaurant in Oak Park that only served craft beer," Hughes said. "At the time, people told us that wouldn't work. But it has."

Hughes and her husband Chris Withey, graduates of Marquette Academy in Ottawa, hope to leverage their industry success to create a successful brewery in La Salle.

Plans include a brewhouse, a canning facility and a taproom where freshly brewed beers will be on tap.

In the future, a restaurant is possible.

"There are so many places in La Salle with good food that we just want to focus on the beer first," Hughes said.

She believes there is room for the craft beer industry to grow in Starved Rock Country.

"There are around 109 breweries in Illinois right now," she said. "But a huge part of that is in Chicago, then there's a mostly empty space until you get to around Champaign."

Radium City Brewing recently opened a nanobrewery north of Ottawa and Tangled Roots Brewing Company expects to open its downtown Ottawa taproom in the fall and a nearby restaurant and larger brewery in winter or spring.

Hughes said there is plenty of interest in craft beer to go around.

"Everybody is so supportive of each other," she said. "It's a massive industry and there's room for everybody."

04 September, 2015

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