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One of Chicago’s Top Brewpubs Might Shutter Next Month in Rogers Park

Empirical Brewpub will close on Morse if it can’t find a buyer by October 14

Empirical Brewery is looking to sells its Morse Avenue brewpub.
Empirical Brewery/Facebook
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

Empirical Brewery ownership announced they will close their Rogers Park brewpub if they can’t find a party to buy the Morse Avenue business by mid-October. The company wants to focus on expanding beer distribution and operations at its Ravenswood taproom and will be unaffected by a potential sale or shutter, according to a news release. If Empirical fails at selling the brewpub, it will close on October 14.

The brewpub opened in June 2017 inside the Mayne Stage, a former theater turned private event space. It replaced the Act One Pub at 1330 W. Morse Avenue. Empirical’s chefs use beer to flavor some of the food on its menu. The company said beer sales have been strong at the brewpub, but prefer to focus resources on beer distributing. The Ravenswood taproom, 1801 W. Foster Avenue, opened three years ago and relies on trucks to serve patrons food.

The brewery is also known for the feral cats which help keep beer safe from pests. The story will be updated if Empirical responds to a request for comment.

Empirical sent this statement over on Monday afternoon:

“There’s not much to add at this point. We got a question about expenses going up, but that was not a factor. In fact, our expense ratios have been going steadily down. Put simply, we are a small company with limited resources and bandwidth. Our beer sells great and we need to focus on that. The taproom has been the lifeblood of the company and will remain so. We recently entered into self-distribution in Chicago and need to focus our management energy on building that business for the long-term. We have a great beer brand in Rogers Park but the restaurant business is a different animal - we are hoping to find a buyer that can more expertly manage that side of the business and still benefit from carrying our full beer line-up.”

The Feral Feline Brew Crew

THE FERAL FELINE BREW CREW — Meet the cats that are making sure rats don't get between you and your beer at Empirical Brewery in Chicago. By Kat Lonsdorf Medill Reports Music "Spy Glass" Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Posted by Medill Reports Chicago on Thursday, May 5, 2016

Mayne Stage

1328 W Morse Ave, Chicago, IL 60626 (773) 381-4554 Visit Website

Empirical Brewery

1801 West Foster Avenue, , IL 60640 (773) 293-7896 Visit Website