Alderman seeks to eliminate moratorium for new brewery


Alderman Margaret Laurino (39th) has introduced an ordinance which would lift a moratorium on the issuance of new liquor licenses in 4000 and 4100 blocks of West Peterson Avenue so that visitors to a new Sauganash brewery can sample the product.

Lifting the moratorium that she imposed would allow Alarmist Brewing, 4055 W. Peterson Ave., to apply for a license for a taproom where patrons could drink beer. Once a moratorium imposed by an alderman is lifted, it cannot be reinstated for at least a year.

Mee Mah Restaurant, 4032 W. Peterson Ave., has liquor for years, but restaurants generally are not subject to moratorium restrictions. In addition, liquor establishments which served liquor before a moratorium was imposed are allowed to continue to do so.

Alarmist sells beer for wholesale distribution, which requires state and federal licenses but not a city liquor license. A city liquor license that permits consumption of alcohol on the premises is required for the taproom.

Alarmist owner Gary Gulley said that only beer that is produced at his 10,000-square-foot brewery would be offered in the taproom. "You’ll be able to come in a buy a pint of beer and eventually, but not right away, a six pack," he said. "There will be no spirits, hard liquor."
There are no immediate plans to serve food, but that could change after the taproom opens, Gulley said.

Laurino spokesman Manuel Galvan said that the Peterson Pulaski Business and Industrial Council sought comments on the proposal from area business owners and residents. "The feedback was pretty positive to all those that they had talked to," Galvan said.

Alarmist operates in a building that was once occupied by the Siebel Institute of Technology, which is a technical school that focuses on the science of brewing. Siebel, which has a facility at 900 N. Branch St., was founded in the 1870s.

Gulley said that he started as a home brewer in the early 1990s and eventually decided to open a business. Alarmist recently began distributing its first beer, called Pantsless Pale Ale.

Also in the Peterson Pulaski Industrial Corridor, Laurino, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the industrial council held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on May 7 for the new 60,000-square-foot Restaurant Depot, 5836 N. Pulaski Road. The food-service supplier is open only to representatives of the food industry, including caterers and restaurants.