Owners Adam Cieslak, Ari Megalis and his brother, Paul Megalis, have been planning this venture for more than a year. Cieslak and Ari Megalis began experimenting with homebrewing eight years ago, and what initially began as a hobby turned into a passion. With his computer engineering background, Cieslak says he found the technical part of beer brewing exciting.
“There are a lot of way to apply some of my engineering background to the equipment we use,” Cieslak says. “We have built many devices over the years that have helped make us better beer. The number one reason that I wanted to get into the business is because I love beer.”
Combined Brewery and Distillery
The owners decided to build a combination brewery and distillery because there is a lot of overlap in the processes. The brewery side will open up first and will be ready to brew and distribute in a few months. The distillery part of the business will follow.
“We’ll be the first brewery and distillery in Illinois, and really want to help bridge the gap between craft beer and craft spirits,” Cieslak says. “We’d love to introduce craft beer fans who may have never tried craft spirits to the craft spirit world, and vice-versa. Chicago has so many awesome things going on right now with craft beer and spirits, and we’re extremely excited to be part of it.”
Mercenary officials say they’ll introduce themselves to Chicago with two brews, the “Fat Pug,” a lighter milk stout and “The Charlatan Pale Ale.” The tasting room and retail space will open closer to the end of the year or spring, but they plan to begin distribution into stores and bars in next few months.
The owners will be creating a traditional Scottish malt whiskey and possibly some gins as soon as the distillery is up and running.
A Home In Logan Square
Logan Square proved to be an ideal location to set up the brewery and distillery. The owners say the location felt “just right” and noted that their families also grew up in the area.
The owners say that they wanted the space to be community-based rather than in an industrialized area, somewhere people coming home from work can “stop in for a growler fill or to check out the space,” Cieslak says.
“We also want to focus on being good neighbors to the community and businesses around here,” he says.