DOWNERS GROVE – Nestled in the industrial district on Wisconsin Avenue, Downers Grove residents will find the village’s latest drinking destination, Alter Brewing Co.
The independent craft brewery, 2300 Wisconsin Ave. Suite 213, already has created several batches of beer and will open its taproom to customers Dec. 18.
Mark Hedrick of Lisle, Pete Kosanovich of Western Springs and David Yob of Glen Ellyn are the three founders of the brewery.
Hedrick is the head brewer – he does not like to be called brewmaster because he thinks the term is too loosely used – while Yob runs the business operations and Kosanovich works on community outreach.
The founders all used to work at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange before pursuing their passion for craft brewing.
Hedrick said he was an art major in college and always felt out of place in the corporate world.
“I knew I wanted to follow my dreams and follow a career that I’m not just working because I need to make money – I still need to make money – but because I enjoy my job,” he said.
Hedrick started as a home brewer in 1992 and received formal brewing training at the Siebel Institute.
Kosanovich, who knew Hedrick and Yob separately, brought the two together about 2½ years ago because both were interested in opening a brewery.
Having a business plan, the three started looking for a location.
“We kept coming back to Downers Grove because the village is easy to work with, the liquor commission was understanding of what we were trying to accomplish, and we knew the average citizen of Downers Grove gets what we’re trying to do,” Kosanovich said.
He said they liked the location specifically because of its proximity to Interstates 355 and 88 and the Belmont Road Metra Station.
Kosanovich added the brewery will start by self-distributing to local friends and restaurants before hopefully signing a deal for larger distribution later next year. He explained the initial focus will be drawing visitors to the brewery and taproom.
“We want to be the neighborhood brewery for Downers Grove,” he said.
The taproom features several areas that can be sectioned off for private parties and a garage door that can be opened in front.
Though food will not be sold in the taphouse, patrons can order food from outside restaurants. The brewery also is discussing with the village the feasibility of having food trucks outside.
Paig Ginther, who will manage the taproom, said they would like to eventually offer brewery tours and classes.
While several craft breweries have opened recently in the Chicago area, Hedrick and Kosanovich said there is more camaraderie than competitiveness between local brewers.
“The breweries are all there for each other,” Kosanovich said. “As long as craft beer succeeds, all the breweries will do well.”
He said it is the quality of the beer that will determine their success.
Hedrick compares his brewing to his background as an artist.
“Nothing is more satisfying to me than to serve somebody a beer, show them an artwork, and for them to say ‘Wow, this is great,’” he said.
If you go
WHAT: Alter Brewing Co.
WHERE: 2300 Wisconsin Ave., Suite 213, Downers Grove
WHEN: 3 to 10 p.m. Thursdays, 3 to 11 p.m. Fridays, noon to 11 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 6 p.m. Sundays
INFO: 630-541-9558, www.alterbrewing.com