Turner Haus Brewery has picked Bronzeville for its upcoming taproom, a culmination of nearly nearly nine years of work. They plan to launch their taproom inside the 92-year-old Rosenwald Court Apartments at 78 E. 47th Street, according to the Sun-Times. What’s more, the Turner Haus team is partnering with another Black-owned business. Co-founders Steve Turner, Blair Turner-Aikens, and Nathaniel Aikens have partnered with Trez Pugh, the founder of local coffee mini-chain Sip & Savor.
The taproom is planned to open in July. But that’s not all: Turner Haus’s Steve Turner also tells Eater they’re at work on a stand-alone spot in the same neighborhood that they hope to have complete by late 2022.
“It’s very vindicating: you have a dream, and to actually see it come to life is really nice,” says Turner. “We’ve been working really hard to get to this point, so it’s good for other people to finally see what we see and where we’ve been for years now.”
The Turner Haus team won’t have to endure a costly and time-consuming construction project thanks to Pugh’s efforts to build out the approximately 2,500 square-foot cafe space. They’re bringing in their own brewing equipment and tap system but will otherwise will be set up to start serving patrons. The building also includes a sizable sidewalk patio that they hope will draw thirsty locals in for a beer.
There are other obstacles, however: co-founders are working on getting their government-issued brewers’ license and waiting for the city to process the rezoning paperwork needed to sell alcohol in a space originally designated for a coffee shop. Turner anticipates that they’ll get the green light within 60 days, or by July.
When it opens, Turner Haus will become Chicago’s first Black-owned brewery since 2019 when Vice District permanently closed. The group is committed to building strong bonds with Black communities and other Black-owned businesses like Sip & Savor. Ideally, they’d also like to source ingredients like hops and grains from Black-owned operations. Their desire to serve and support other Black Chicagoans is also apparent in the taproom’s location.
“Bronzeville is very important to us,” Turner-Aikens says of the predominantly Black neighborhood. “It’s where we live and it’s lacking a brewery... We don’t have the type of options like they have on the North Side or downtown. Black people love beer too.”
Over the past year, the co-founders have been spreading the word about their brews by popping up around the city with tasting events and snagging a tap at Alulu Brewpub in Pilsen. They’ve also collaborated with Nashville-based Tennessee Brew Works to a series of barrel-aged beers, including a “Gazelle Hazy IPA” in honor of “the Black Gazelle” — Olympic track and field champion Wilma Rudolph.
Turner and his partners aren’t prepared to divulge too much about their stand-alone plans but will say they are in negotiations with local officials as the location is a city-owned property. The team was well into planning stages for that project when the COVID-19 pandemic began, which forced them to hit pause and radically change their timeline. They hope to open in that mystery spot by the fourth quarter of 2022.
Turner Haus Brewery, 78 E. 47th Street inside Sip & Savor, scheduled to open in late summer. Turner Haus Stand-Alone Project, Location to be announced, scheduled to open in late 2022.