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CASTLE MALTING NEWS in partnership with www.e-malt.com
26 July, 2021

Brewing news USA, IL: Arlington Beer Company receives approval to open microbrewery in Arlington Heights

Arlington Beer Company received approvals from the Arlington Heights Village Board that will allow opening a microbrewery and tap room northeast of the downtown area, the Chicago Tribune reported on July 28.

Kathleen Egan, owner of the former Itasca Brewing Company, first expressed interest in opening a brewery in Arlington Heights in 2012. After overcoming a series of obstacles and proposal changes, Egan received approval from the Village Board at its July 21 meeting for land use and zoning variation requests needed to proceed with renovation of two vacant buildings near Recreation Park.

The next step is for Egan to apply for a liquor license. Meanwhile, she said her engineers and builders are standing by to begin work on the microbrewery at 19 N. Hickory Ave.

“We’re committed to promoting hand-crafted beverages and the responsible enjoyment of craft beer,” Egan told the board.

She said her brewers are trained in German beer recipes, creating unique beverages – from craft beer to cream soda and root beer.

Arlington Beer Company will be nestled in a growing residential area with one building featuring an indoor tap room with retail and an outdoor living space with a fireplace, picnic tables and televisions. The second building will be used for brewing production. Egan said craft beer growlers and crawlers will be available to take home and she hopes to eventually distribute to local restaurants.

Parking had been a primary sticking point for village leaders in the past but they approved the plan after Egan recently secured a three-year lease with the Arlington Heights Park District for 26 parking spots at nearby Recreation Park, combined with available street parking at Hickory and Douglas avenues. Egan told board members customers will be encouraged to walk, bike or use share-ride services to and from the establishment.

“Thank you for sticking with us through all of these years, you’re very persistent,” said Trustee Mary Beth Canty, who made the motion to approve the variations. “I’ve been following this project for years and I’m very excited.”

According to village memos, Arlington Beer Company first approached the village with a proposal for a brewery at 3 N. Hickory Ave. The proposed business was to be strictly for beer production and distribution with no plans for a taproom, onsite consumption, or retail sales.

At that time, a former village planner reportedly informed proprietors a brewery was permitted and ABC signed a lease for the property. Arlington Beer Company then purchased a property at 19 N. Hickory Ave. The company later learned production of alcoholic beverages was not permitted in the village.

Two years later, the company submitted a zoning application for a land use variation to allow for the brewing of alcoholic beverages at both 3 N. Hickory Ave. and 19 N. Hickory Ave. The 3 N. Hickory Ave. facility was modified to include a limited area for retail sales and tastings of beer on the premises, and the 19 N. Hickory Ave. facility would include beer production and a taproom, according to village documents.

However, there was no liquor license classification in the village at that time for a microbrewery that sold bottled beer to the public and provided beer tastings and taprooms. Village staff informed the company that until a liquor license was created to allow for this use, the land use variation request for a taproom could not proceed. Instead, village staff encouraged ABC to proceed with a land use variation request to allow production and distribution of beer, village documents state.

In 2018, the Village Board approved a new liquor classification and zoning regulations for microbreweries and soon after, the Arlington Beer Company began working with staff to proceed with the zoning approval process with modifications to its original plans.

Meanwhile, the company owners closed the Itasca Brewing Company site and began planning another brewery in Roselle under a new brand called Relative, Egan said.

Charles Perkins, director of planning and community development, said the zoning change approved for ABC permits an increase in the retail sales portion of the business to 50% of the overall space. He had also recommended the business secure 60 parking spaces, per village code, anticipating a 200-person occupancy at the business.


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