Chicago has become home to many craft breweries over the years, and from May 18-25, brewers around the city will celebrate the art of the craft with Chicago Craft Beer Week.
Among those celebrating is Logan Square’s own Revolution Brewing. To help kick off the week, Revolution is hosting a nine-hole putt-putt course at its Kedzie Brewery (3340 N. Kedzie Ave.) from May 19-21. The Revolution-themed course will snake through the brewery, and golfers each get a can of Suncrusher as they play. A different taco truck will serve up food each day the course is open. Tickets are $40 per group of four.
Local Brew with a Big Name
In less than a decade, Revolution has made a name for itself in the craft beer world, including recognition as one of the Top 50 craft brewing companies in the United States by the Brewer’s Association in 2015 and 2016.
When Revolution first opened in 2010, founder and owner Josh Deth had been dreaming of opening his own brewery for quite some time. It’s not like he didn’t have enough going on — not only was he the owner of Handlebar (2311 W. North Ave.) in Wicker Park, he was also the executive director of the Logan Square Chamber of Commerce, where he helped manage the Logan Square Farmers Market. Deth later sold his stake in Handlebar, according to The Chicago Tribune.
Deth’s job at the Chamber of Commerce is actually what helped him locate the perfect spot to make his brewery dream a reality. He found an open building on Milwaukee Avenue in 2008 and seized the opportunity. After decades of wanting to own a brewery, Deth opened Revolution in 2010 at 2323 N. Milwaukee Ave., where it still stands today.
When asked why he chose the name Revolution, Deth explained that it’s a combination of his background in community organizing, as well as his love of beer.
“It was a name I came up with a long time ago,” Deth said. “I was working at Goose Island and came up with the name, and I probably had had a few beers. To me, ‘revolution’ is an awesome concept. It’s something I can see happening with craft beer, and it’s perfect for the craft beer business.”
Though some craft breweries categorize themselves as small, local establishments, Deth has always had other plans for Revolution.
The evolution of the business has involved steady growth over time. One year after the brewpub opening, the business expanded to add a second-floor brewer’s lounge. Two years after opening, Revolution took a big step and opened its Kedzie location in Avondale. The 90,000-square-foot space gave the team the opportunity to brew more beer, offer tours and provide more space for beer drinkers to socialize.
Revolution has branched out past Illinois state lines as well — its beer is currently sold in eight states throughout the Midwest and East Coast.
“We never tried to be small for the sake of small,” Deth said. “Handlebar was small, and I wanted to do something bigger. We still have a natural business, family feel and everybody knows each other… Revolution in a lot of ways is about the people, and our history has been very driven by the beer consumers who liked our beer and wanted more. We had to grow the business. The alternative was to clamp down and keep it small — that was never a consideration.”
Beer for the People, By the People
Revolution’s size and locations allow them to play a role in community involvement as well. The brewery works with about 200 nonprofits each year, either by donating beer to events and fundraisers or hosting events.
For Deth, the involvement with the community and watching the growth of Revolution is the most exciting part of the business. He notes that the highlights for him have been the openings of his two locations after years of planning, including the grand opening of the brewery with thousands of people at the celebration.
“It’s pretty exciting to see the beer you make sold in stores, and sold at stores like Hopleaf,” Deth said. “Sometimes you have a moment where you catch your breath. I used to go to the Hopleaf when I was young; it helped turn me on to the great beers of the world. We’ve won awards, too, but I don’t think the awards mean quite as much as moments with the people.”
As Revolution continues to provide good times for local beer enthusiasts and businesses, they’re also focused on expanding their market even more, throughout all of Illinois (they’re not yet in Springfield or Peoria) and to other states.
In the meantime, they’ll be hosting events like this weekend’s putt-putt games, and they’ll continue to create delicious beer for Logan Square and beyond.