One of Chicago’s first brewpubs, Burnt City Brewing (nee Atlas Brewing Company) will close its Lincoln Park brewpub next year and move operations inside a West Town warehouse. This is a consolidation move aimed to merge the Lincoln Avenue brewpub with Burnt City’s South Side production facility, reported the Tribune. March 3 will be Burnt City’s last day at 2747 N. Lincoln Avenue.
The new space at 417 N. Ashland Avenue will serve food, something Burnt City has done successfully. The Trib reports the new menu will feature barbecue, a shift from the sandwiches and pizzas Burnt City currently serves, and reportedly start serving cider. A message to co-owner Ben Saller seeking more details wasn’t immediately returned. The new space should also open by March.
The brewpub opened six years ago on the same block where Chicago whiskey mainstay Delilah’s stands near the corner of Lincoln and Diversey. Burnt City would later absorb the neighboring bowling alley, the space formerly known as Lucky Strike. Like Burnt City, Lucky Strike also changed its name (to Seven Ten Lounge) as part of a legal challenge levied against previous ownership. The Lucky Strike chain, with a Chicago location in Streeterville, objected to the bowling alley’s name.
In Burnt City’s case, its owners changed its name from Atlas to appease a challenge from D.C.-based Atlas Brew Works. The D.C.-based company filed its trademark application two weeks before Burnt City’s attorneys did back in 2012. Thus, the Burnt City name was unveiled in 2016.
Within the Tribune’s report comes one of the more depressing quotes about the beer industry thanks to Burnt City co-founder Steve Soble. The brewery planned to expand with a vision of becoming a regional brewery. When the brewpub opened six years ago, the city had yet to see this recent wave of mass brewery openings. Soble believes that growth gobbled up opportunities, particularly when larger companies like Anheuser-Busch InBev began buying up craft brands, including Chicago icon Goose Island Brewing. A recent example is in the West Loop where Constellation Brands opened a brewpub using Ballast Point Brewing branding. Burnt City was forced to consolidate to become more nimble. “AB-InBev won the war,” Soble told the Tribune.
So again, Burnt City plans to rise from the ashes once more in March — but without bowling. The new West Town location is near Hubbard, close to current breweries On Tour Brewing, Goose Island, and All Rise Brewing. Check back for any updates.