A prime destination in Logan Square is temporarily closing at least until March. Revolution Brewing, the city’s largest craft brewery, is closing its brewpub due to the fiscal challenges brought on by the novel coronavirus pandemic. As Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s order that suspends indoor dining goes into effect Friday, a Revolution rep says the environment isn’t financially sustainable to continue operations.
“Unfortunately, the business has not been financially sustainable, the public health crisis is now getting worse and it doesn’t make any sense to just open the windows for fresh air and try to struggle further down this path right now,” a Facebook post reads.
Nationally, Revolution is known as the state’s top-selling craft brewery. Locally, its brewpub at 2323 N. Milwaukee Avenue is a neighborhood pioneer. It opened in 2010 and became an anchor along Milwaukee Avenue in Logan Square while attracting new customers to a neighborhood that hadn’t visited 10 years ago. Back then, Logan Square wasn’t thought of as the restaurant hotspot that it’s known as today.
The lively bar provided more than just a place for beer tastings, but weekend waits were long as Revolution became one of the toughest tables for a reservation in town. Even rivals at Goose Island Beer noted the energy of the space and wanted to clone that feeling at their own taprooms.
Revolution opened a taproom at its Avondale brewery in 2012 along Kedzie Avenue. That’s become a hub for parties and beer releases. The taproom doesn’t have outdoor space set up and will suspend indoor service due to the state’s mandate. They will still offer curbside pickup from noon to 7 p.m. everyday, according to a rep.
While many restaurants have to broker agreements with landlords to survive during the pandemic, Revolution has an advantage in Logan Square: the company owns the building. That makes it easier to make the decision to hibernate, a path many restaurants included Michelin-starred Elske and food halls like Chicago’s French Market and Politan Row have taken.
The brewpub had just reopened, instituting new guidelines so customers could better adhere to social distancing requirements. Workers will be furloughed and the brewery will continue paying out healthcare coverage for the next four months. The company will also donate food to workers, a rep says. It’ll take unsold beer to the Kedzie production facility, according to a rep.
Fans of bars across the city are saying one way customers can support taverns before Friday’s closure is to visit Thursday to fill growlers and to buy packaged goods. Gobbling up inventories can give bars a little cash. Revolution will transport its beer from Logan Square to Avondale, there’s no need to do that for the brewery. A rep suggests fans should instead take their dollars and support local taverns.
Earlier this year, bars in Illinois began selling packaged beer to go as lawmakers saw that as a concession that could help boost sales with taverns closed during the early stages of the pandemic. But it’s trickier for a brewpub. Ownership needs to figure out how food sales fit their business plan — does offering carryout make sense? In Indiana, Three Floyds made the decision in May to close its brewpub until after COVID-19 restrictions ease.