I hold fast to my claim that Chicago's growth as a beer center is not a "bubble," but I do note a bit consolidation this week.
The Guys Drinking Beer blog broke the story yesterday. Blogger Karl Klockars quoted a statement sent by Ten Ninety's Brian Shafer:
Ten Ninety is excited to announce their acquisition of Big Chicago in Zion, IL. Ten Ninety will continue to offer contract brewing services as well as brew their own brand. Ten Ninety has retained all of the employees of Big Chicago and are looking to increase production and open a tasting room.
Ten Ninety made its debut at last May's Beer Under Glass event. Their name derives from the brewer's shorthand for an "Original Gravity" of 1.090, meaning the unfermented wort is high in malt sugars and thus much denser than water, and with a potential for a high-alcohol finished beer. Ten Ninety's flagship beers are "Imperial" versions of an IPA, a Porter, and Belgian Wit and Tripel styles.
Big Chicago opened late in 2012. It was originally Flatlander's Restaurant & Brewery in Lincolnshire, which closed in 2011 with plans to split into a contract brewery and a new restaurant space. The restaurant location faltered, and the brewery was delayed when potential production demand proved more than their original location would have been able to handle. A new location in Zion was selected, but took more time to get approval from village officials. Besides Ten Ninety, Big Chicago made beers for small brewers Cahoots and Middle Brow. The new Ten Ninety brewery will continue to makes contract beers for other brewers, according to Karl.