After years of planning, Revolution Brewing – a craft brew pub with a signature red fist logo – is scheduled to open in Logan Square this summer.
Revolution owner Josh Deth says the restaurant and brewery at 2323 N. Milwaukee Ave., in Logan Square is under construction after months of being in financial limbo. To make the project a reality, Deth had to find investors, get a small business loan and get a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) grant.
He says the project was originally approved for $490,000 in funds from the Fullerton/Milwaukee TIF District, which has a yearly budget of $52.5 million for redevelopment. However, he ultimately received a $150,000 grant from the TIF district’s Small Business Improvement Fund (SBIF).
SBIF grants are used for signage, to replace major systems such as plumbing or electrical, and for façade improvement. While less than the projected TIF amount, the grant has allowed the project to continue, albeit with less frills.
Deth, 34, opened Handlebar restaurant in nearby Wicker Park in 2003.
He says the Revolution building will include green features, like pint flush urinals that use less water. By renovating an existing building in the Logan Square neighborhood and serving beer made on-site, Deth said the business would continue to be eco-friendly.
"When it comes to beer consumption, draught is the greenest by far, and it’s also the best way to taste your beer," he says.
Deth, who in 2005 received a master's degree in urban planning from the University of Illinois-Chicago, was the executive director for the Logan Square Chamber of Commerce from 2006 to 2007. That gave him the knowledge needed to get the brewery on its feet.
The brewpub market here and across the nation is growing, experts say. According to the Colorado-based Brewer's Association, craft beer sales increased 11 percent in the first half of this year, compared to the same period in 2007.
Revolution will be the first brewery to operate in Logan Square since another craft brewery, Golden Prairie, closed in the mid-1990s. It was while working at Golden Prairie in 1995 that Deth first got the idea to start the new business.
People in the neighborhood appear to be excited about the new business. Many of the brewery's investors live in the Logan Square neighborhood, and the Logan Square Chamber of Commerce has given its full support.
"This is a terrific project...well thought out, put together by a talented guy who's worked very hard," said Paul Levin, the executive director of the Logan Square Chamber of Commerce. "Our next step will be to get a pretzel bakery into the neighborhood, and we'll have it all."
Deth says he is confident the brewery will work despite the current economic downturn.
"I think unique, local businesses in urban areas are going to thrive even as the economy shifts,” Deth says. We're going to be making great beer and peoples' tastes for great beer aren't going to change dramatically."