Craft Beer Brewery Proposed for Downtown Fire Barn (Oswego, IL.)

Another interesting location for the brew business- The Professor

Written by Steven Jack for

May not be how the future brewery will look when done. Labelled as "A1" by Oswego Fire Protection's website- The Professor
The world of beer is no longer just Bud, Miller and Coors.

Craft brews have taken over the beer scene with double-digit increases in sales in the last few years. And now a group of three local guys want to bring their own brand of specialty beers to Oswego with a brewery proposed for the old Fire Barn location at 59 Main St.

Jason Thalman, Steve Woertendyke and Rafael Gomez are the co-owners of Misfit Craft Brewery. They will appear before the Oswego Plan Commission at 7 p.m. Thursday at Village Hall to discuss a special-use permit for the building that has sat vacant since 2009 when the Oswego Fire Protection District opened its new Station 1 on Woolley Road. If the commission recommends the project for approval, it could appear before the Village Board in the coming weeks.

The plan, Thalman said, is to brew and distribute three separate types of beer at the downtown location. There also are plans for a tasting room/banquet facility that could accommodate 75 to 100 people.

“We don’t want to be a bar and this isn’t what that will be,” Thalman said. “People aren’t going to come here and get drunk.”

The three have extensive experience in the craft beer field. Both Woertendyke and Gomez work in the local craft beer industry, and Thalman has been writing a craft beer blog for a couple years.

“This is a growth industry right now,” Thalman said. “People are tired of the big guys. They want flavor and quality, and that’s why it’s taken off.”

Thalman also said they have no immediate plans to sell food at the location.

“We’d rather have people bring their own food if they want for tastings. We don’t want to compete with the restaurants that are already downtown. We want to help the other local businesses,” said the 12-year Oswego resident.

Craft breweries are becoming popular all over the country, and Thalman said they’re in part modeling their business after Mother Earth Brewing in Kinston, NC—a town with a population of about 22,000.

Thalman described the Fire Barn as a perfect location for the brewery given the height of the ceilings needed for large brewing vats and the square footage.

“It’s about twice the size as what we need right now, but it will give us plenty of room to grow,” he said.

How much renovating the building will cost the partners is not yet known, as Thalman said the approval of a special-use permit by the Village Board will give them the impetus to begin full-scale planning.

The hope is that they will be able to lease the property from the OFPD with an option to one day purchase the property.

“I have no doubt in my mind that we’re going to be making one of the best craft beers in the entire Midwest, and this will be a successful business,” Thalman said.

If all goes as hoped with the village, Thalman said they hope to be open by October.

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