August 6, 2015
In an statement on Thursday, August 6 Alderman Joe Moore (49th) announced that he, Ald. Osterman (48th), and Ald. O’Connor (40th) will support the proposal to lift the liquor moratorium on Devon Avenue. Ald. Moore also stated that Ald. Osterman will also support the zoning change in order for the brew pub to be able to open. The Chicago City Council will review the proposal for final decision on September 24.
“This small brew pub will contribute greatly to the commercial revitalization that Devon is currently enjoying,” Ald. Moore said in the statement.
On Tuesday, July 28, Ald. Patrick O’Connor (40th), Ald. Harry Osterman (48th), and Ald. Joe Moore (49th) held a cfrom Broadway to Ravenswood should be lifted to make way for D and G Brewing Company– a prospective brewpub– at 1221-27 W. Devon Ave.
The brewpub would be located in Ald. Osterman’s district, so he will have the final say on the necessary zoning change for the liquor moratorium lift. But the future of the “dry” area of South Devon and the issuance of future liquor licenses will require Moore and O’Connor’s support in front of the City Council.
If an ordinance to lift the alcohol ban is approved and adopted by the City Council, a new ban cannot be reinforced for one year. If agreed upon, the moratorium on liquor consumption and the selling of alcohol, called “packaged goods,” would be lifted for a year while business owners get approved for the necessary licenses and open their doors for business, and then the moratorium would be re-instated in two block increments. Because of the redrawing of the ward boundaries, all three alderman oversee sections of Devon Avenue, so any ordinance enforcement of the area is supervised by them collectively.
The owners of the proposed brewpub, Loyola grads Alex Drayer and Brittany Groot, and the owner of the property it would open on, Scott Whelan, were also in attendance at the meeting to answer questions and pitch the benefits of having the brewpub to the community.
“We were looking for places in Chicago that we thought would kind of be more open to a smaller joint where we could just exist on the local community support,” Groot explained to the community members. “And within this region, you have about 150,000 people who live here and right now you’re served by two breweries, neither of whom brew in this area.”
Osterman has been taking initiative to develop the 48th ward by working closely with small business restaurants and cafes. He has also begun projects to beautify the neighborhood, such as the streetscape project currently under construction on Argyle Street. Many see the neighborhood as a good place for a small business to succeed.
“With the development on Morse, some of the development in Andersonville, and some of the development on Broadway, we saw a lot more independent businesses and kind of one-off businesses instead of the larger chains,” Groot said.
The brewpub would be a small-scale, direct-to-customer brewery that would only serve beer made on the premises. There would be no kitchen, and no food would be served, although Groot and Drayer do plan to allow for customers to bring their own food.
Some concerns brought up by community residents included potential parking shortages and a possible increase in noise and crime near the brewpub. But Groot and Drayer, who both have backgrounds in criminal justice, assured the community that they would be working with police to prevent crime and minimize noisiness.
The owners only intend to distribute their beer to a few handpicked local bars.
“We have to go somewhere on our day off,” Groot joked.
Adoption of the ordinance is just the first step for Groot and Drayer, as the lifted moratorium would not guarantee the issuance of a liquor license. The pair must still apply for a license and be approved by the city of Chicago’s Local Liquor Control Commission. However, the Commission may consider the opinion of the aldermen and the community in his decision.
During an alderman-led vote, six of the residents present did not support the brewpub, while over 45 residents were in favor of it.
“I think this is extremely exciting. I’m very optimistic of this development,” said 48th ward resident Matt Swentkafske. “My wife and I moved into this neighborhood five years ago because of the opportunity. Obviously there are going to be some challenges, but I see a lot of benefits economically and it’ll help our property values go up. There’s going to be a lot of benefit to revitalize the area between Broadway and Clark.”