By Megann Horstead | For The Sentinel
A craft brewery could be on tap for the Village of Shorewood as early as this summer.
The owners of Will County Brewing Company appeared before the Shorewood Village Board of Trustees at a May 23 meeting where officials reviewed a measure that could create a Class-K liquor license permitting craft beer sales.
Representing the proposed development at the meeting was Jamie Albert, president of Will County Brewing Company.
“We’re looking for approval of this license to be able to manufacture craft beer and to have a small tap room in front to be able to sell our beer that we serve,” he said.
Nationally, the industry for craft breweries has grown over the years. Locally, such businesses are coming on line in the City of Joliet.
“We’re hoping to be the first, obviously,” Albert said. “We’re all Shorewood residents, and we’re looking to have it in our hometown.”
Albert said the board’s approval would help the trio in bringing on line their first craft brewery.
“We all started off as home brewers as most breweries do,” he said. “If they get a good response from their beers and win some at competitions, a lot of them open up breweries.”
The owners intend to focus only on craft beer sales when their establishment opens. They will not be seeking a license to serve food.
It is to be located in a shopping plaza near Savarino’s Pizza. At 2,700 square feet, the establishment will include a room for the manufacturing of craft beer and a front room for tasting.
Layout of the bar area is still to be determined. The owners anticipate being able to serve 50 patrons.
“Based on our capacity, we’ve got our equipment that’s coming,” Albert said. “We have a three and a half barrel system coming. We have four fermenters coming, so we’ll be able to have four beers fermenting at one time. Once those are emptied and kegged, we can serve those and have four new ones brought on.”
Mayor Rick Chapman said he likes the idea of having a craft brewery in town.
“Hopefully, in a couple of weeks, we’ll be able to say, ‘Welcome to Shorewood,” he said.
The board’s consideration of a Class-K liquor license is due at its June 13 meeting, at which point Will County Brewing Company’s owners will need to approach Village officials to seek approval of a conditional use permit.
“It’s more about it’s an art,” Albert said of their business philosophy. “The word craft, we take seriously. It’s no different than a chef having an artist in a restaurant. We make artisan beers. That’s what our focus is.”