What Illinois-based brewer has earned a disproportionate share of plaudits and medals? Pours at many local beerfests although it has no beer on Chicago shelves? And makes even die-hard Illini beer geeks admit a grudging respect for the home of Illinois State?
For many years, local beer fans have trekked downstate for growlers of DESTIHL, especially its barrel-aged Belgian-style sour beers under the "Saint Dekkera" name.
Apparently Chicago has been a target for expansion once DESTIHL got enough production going to think about new territory. A news release from Chicago Beverage Systems has crossed my inbox. Allow me to copy and paste:
DESTIHL® Brewery and Chicago Beverage Systems have agreed to join forces to distribute the brewer’s acclaimed craft beer brands in Chicago. DESTIHL, based in Bloomington-Normal, IL, has been attending beer fests in the city for several years, but the partnership with Chicago Beverage Systems will be the first opportunity for the award-winning brewer to sell and market its brands in Chicago.
"The agreement with Chicago Beverage represents an exciting opportunity for DESTIHL to finally get our beers into a market that we love and that has been seeking our beers for quite some time," said, DESTIHL founder, Brewmaster and CEO, Matt Potts. “It also allows us to work alongside a distribution partner which has the requisite size, craft beer knowledge and reputation in the market that will allow us to get DESTIHL beers into the best craft beer retailers in the city. It's truly a great opportunity for us to grow substantially together."
DESTIHL will initially focus on Chicago’s on-premise, draft beer market. However, growth plans by the brewery include tripling its production capacity over the next few months from an original 3500 barrels to over 10,000 barrels of capacity. The capacity expansion, together with the addition of a canning line, will allow DESTIHL and Chicago Beverage Systems to expand distribution beyond the initial rollout.
In DESTIHL’s typical fashion, it will release several beer brands, including the brewery’s Belgian-style lineup, which includes Abbey’s Single, Tripel, Quadrupel, Ambassador, Nit Wit, Clarice, Saison de Ruisseau and its renowned, multi-award winning single-barrel aged & spontaneously fermented Saint Dekkera Reserve Sour Ale Series. DESTIHL will also distribute other fan favorites such as Strawberry Blonde (bronze medal winner in the fruit beer category at the 2012 Great American Beer Fest®), DeadHead, Hoperation Overload, Black Angel, Downstate Pale Ale, Vertex IPA, Lawnmower, Tenebrous, Altercation, Samhain, with Antiquity and Dosvidanya to follow in the future.
Bill Emerson, Chicago Beverage Systems General Manager, said, “We are excited to partner with Matt and his team at DESTIHL. Matt brews uncommon beers, uncommonly well, and we aim to make DESTIHL commonplace in Chicago. It’s a great fit for the brewery and us; our craft team is excited to introduce the DESTIHL brands to many of its accounts and thrilled to be able to sell those brands to many bars that are already DESTIHL fans.”
The keg rollout through Chicago Beverage Systems will begin next week in Chicago.
DESTIHL has been distributing in Wisconsin since July 2012 and is working on arrangements to distribute elsewhere in Illinois as well as in Michigan and Indiana.
DESTIHL Restaurant & Brew Works opened in Normal, IL in November 2007 and added its second brewpub in downtown Champaign in April 2011. DESTIHL’s 20,000 sf production brewery project in Bloomington commenced in September 2012 with brewing starting in May 2013 and includes a 25-barrel brewhouse, several large fermenters and 100,000 cubic feet of barrel-aging space.
Only thing missing from this story is "where," "when," and "what" will be poured? DESTIHL will again be pouring this Saturday at the Oak Park Micro Brew Review, and August 24 at the Midwest Brewers Festival in Plainfield. I have nailed down two local tappings which will appear in my next article here, or on my Facebook fan page and Google Calendar.