Reporting Dana Kozlov
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CHICAGO (CBS) – Some promising news about jobs in the Chicago area: a new survey of 300 local companies has found nearly half of them plan to hire more workers over the next few months.
CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov has more on what one beer company has on tap. It’s news many will be toasting.
Lagunitas Brewing Co. – a craft beer company in California – is on the verge of opening a brew factory in Chicago’s Douglas Park neighborhood.
Move over Goose Island. Lagunitas is about to become the biggest brewery in Chicago. The California-based brewery is opening a facility at a huge warehouse at 18th and Rockwell streets, at the old Ryerson Steel distributorship site.
Ryerson’s Chicago location closed several years ago, taking hundreds of local jobs with it. So, news of the pending brewery opening is all good.
“We really need those jobs. I mean, a lot of people are jobless,” said Hector Escobar, president of the Cermak Road Chamber of Commerce. “To create this type of work in the community, it means a lot.”
Cinespace currently owns the land and buildings at the old Ryerson site. Lagunitas’ new brewery would be located on a 150,000-square-foot portion of this Cinespace warehouse, facing the railroad tracks.
A Cinespace spokesperson said they weren’t looking to rent out any of the space there. Lagunitas came to them.
The beer maker has signed a letter of intent to open a brewery at the warehouse. Details of the lease are still being finalized.
Escobar said he’s been told Lagunitas will be creating more than 100 new jobs.
Binny’s Beverage Depot general manager Aaron Vint said Lagunitas’ local sales are already strong. The Chicago brewery should only boost those numbers and increase supply for the area.
“I would assume that the output should be great. My guess is that they’ll do some craft beers for the market,” Vint said.
Lagunitas’ owner is originally from Chicago and tweeted he was excited to expand to the Midwest.
He also said he hoped to be brewing here by 2013 – if the two parties can seal the deal, of course.