Printer’s Row Brewery proposed for Lawrence-Austin in Jefferson Park
by BRIAN NADIG
Printer’s Row Brewing is planning to relocate to an existing one-story building at the northeast corner of Lawrence and Austin avenues in Jefferson Park.
Alderman Nicholas Spsoato (38th) said that the project is contingent on zoning relief but that he expects the proposal will receive a warm welcome from the community. “Breweries are like Starbucks 1O years ago. Everyone wants one in their neighborhood,” he said.
Ten years ago the brewery began as a concept discussed by two friends, Virgilio Mazzeo and Jonathan Wolf, while they were living in the Printer’s Row neighborhood. Then five years ago the two friends started formalizing their plans and the business was officially launched in 2017, as they began brewing beer in a 650-square-foot commercial space on Northwest Highway in Gladstone Park.
Currently Printer’s Row is operating out the headquarters for Lake Effect Brewing, 4727 W Montrose Ave., as part of a proprietorship agreement in which they alternate use of the kettles.
“We’re basically the third shift at a warehouse,” Wolf said, adding that the fermentation and packaging processes for the two companies are kept separate. “It works out well for us and (Lake Effect).”
Wolf said that the company’s beers can be found on tap mostly in bars and restaurants in the Printer’s Row area but that an increasing number of Northwest Side establishments carry its products.
One of Printer’s most popular brews is a brown ale, according to Wolf and Mazzeo. “It’s kind of on the light side for a brown (and made with) vanilla beans we cut up,” said Mazzeo, who is the company’s brewmaster.
Wolf said that the brewery should be a catalyst for revitalizing the Lawrence-Austin commercial district and that while the brewery may have a small selection of pre-prepared food offerings, the brewery’s visitors would be patronizing the array of ethic restaurants and bakeries in the area.
Plans call for a tasting room with 45 seats and an outdoor patio and for the existing kitchen to be removed to accommodate the brewing equipment, Wolf said. “We’re going to take it down to the walls,” he said.
Currently the triangular-shaped, 1,455-square-foot building is home to Los Encinos Restaurant, 4801 N. Austin Ave., which would be moving out.
Wolf said that he hopes to have the new location operational by the end of the year and that a zoning application has been filed with the city to allow for the manufacturing of beer on the site.
“Well, it looks like the cat’s out of the bag so to speak. We finally have a ‘forever home,’ with a tasting room. We’re super excited and can’t wait to become a part of the Northwest Side community of Jefferson and Portage Park.
“It’s going to take come time to rehab the space and move in as well as licensing and etc. …, but we’ll strive to open as soon as we can,” the company announced on Facebook.