This is the first year since 1920 that the number of commercial breweries in the U.S. has exceeded the number before Prohibition. And Destihl Restaurant and Brew Works in Normal has plans to open another stand alone operation in Bloomington. CEO and Brewmaster Matt Potts says Destihl is waiting for equipment and 500 oak casks to install in a warehouse on G.E. Road. Potts says they will increase distribution to several states including Colorado, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin favor micro brews.
"People in those markets are used to craft beer and craft beer sales there are in double digits and people want a lot of diverse choices."
The new equipment will eventually allow production of up to 9,000 barrels a year, a 900% increase over the current capacity at the restaurant in the Shoppes at College Hills in Normal. This would be the first stand alone commercial brewery in McLean County in 93 years. Potts says the 20,000 square foot warehouse facility on G.E. Road in Bloomington will allow greater production of all 84 varieties of beer Destihl brews, but they plan to concentrate on sour reserve ales, which he says are the hot new thing for beer geeks nationally.
"Ours are spontaneously fermented. So we like to think there is something unique in our downstate Illinois air. Perhaps it's like Belgian air or something. It's surrounded by farms and cornfields and whatnot. So we're really hoping it's something that cannot be easily duplicated in other areas."
Destihl will add about five employees. McLean County Museum of History Director Greg Koos says the last stand alone commercial brewery in McLean County closed in 1919 at the start of the prohibition era. The brewery building is now the equipment shed at Highland Park golf course in Bloomington. Destihl recently won a bronze medal in the fruit beer category at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver for its Strawberry Blonde Ale. 666 breweries entered the competition.
Listen to the entire interview with Matt Potts.
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