Yeast lab for brews expanding to larger facility on Montrose


A local manufacturer of yeast for commercial and home brewers is relocating to a larger building near its existing 3,700-squre-foot facility at Montrose and Knox avenues.

For 4 years Omega Yeast Labs has operated in a portion of an industrial building at 4727 W. Montrose Ave., but it recently acquired a 9,800-square-foot warehouse at 4739 W. Montrose and hopes to be moved in there by mid-December.

The warehouse was once home to Air-Mite Devices, a maker of air presses and cylinders for assembly lines. Since 2014, attempts to open a medical marijuana dispensary and a do-it-yourself car repair shop there have failed to materialize.

The site, which is next to the Mayfair Metra Station at 4357 N. Cicero Ave., includes a parking lot that is located across an alley from the rear of the building.

Omega Yeast labs founder Lance Shaner said that most of the area’s breweries were getting their yeast from companies in Colorado and along the West Coast and that given his background, it made sense to start his own company in Chicago. “There was a need to do this in the Midwest,” he said. “I’m a microbiologist by training.”

The company’s Web site states that the standard for its laboratories “is to provide the freshest, pure, liquid brewers yeast in any quantity to professional breweries” and “to offer quality, ready-to-pitch yeast for home brewing.” Its products are available in brew supply shops in 22 states and several countries.

Shaner, a home brewer himself, said that by the end of 2018 he hopes to open a taproom inside the new facility where visitors can sample various microbrews.