LYNCHBURG, TENN. – A president must waste long hours on trivial issues such as foreign policy, the economy and his own re-election. But Barack Obama has found time for something more important: home-brewing beer. And on Sept. 1, he revealed his secret recipe to a grateful nation.
Obama owes a debt to one of his predecessors. Jimmy Carter, though a teetotaler, loosened restrictions on home brewing when he signed the Cranston act in 1978. That act also changed federal excise taxes so that home brewers were whacked with lighter levies than big breweries when they sold their product. Deregulation allowed America’s fledgling craft-brewing industry to flourish.
American beer drinkers, who once had little option besides gassy, mass-produced bathwater, may now choose from hundreds of beers of all shades, styles and strengths. Craft beers’ share of the national throat remains small, but it is growing. And as beer goes, so go spirits, as laws dating from Prohibition are whittled away.
The Brewers Association, a lobby group, defines a craft brewer as one that makes at most 6 million barrels a year, in which big companies have a stake of less than 25 percent and that uses traditional malt ingredients such as barley. Within that category, sizes vary: Boston Beer Company, the largest craft brewer, sold around 2.5 million barrels, whereas Sweetwater, of Atlanta, sold 95,000.
Minnesota craft brewers include Summit Brewing Co., Surly Brewing Co. and Fulton Brewing. At this year’s Minnesota State Fair, craft brewers promoted the state as “The Land of 10,000 Beers.”
In the same year Anheuser-Busch InBev, which makes Stella Artois, Beck’s and Budweiser, sold 106 million barrels, almost 10 times as much as the entire craft industry, and mopped up 48 percent of the U.S. But craft sales rose between 2010 and 2011, as overall American beer sales declined.
These days bars with 20 taps are common. Connoisseurs of chocolate stouts, blueberry wheats and hopmonsters are spoiled for choice. Even the big breweries recognize the value in craft-beer cachet. Shock-Top, for instance, may be “a Belgian-style unfiltered wheat ale brewed with real citrus peels and coriander spice,” but it is brewed by Anheuser-Busch.
According to the Brewers Association, in 2011 there were 1,940 craft breweries in operation. In one sense, this is a novelty; as recently as 1979 America had fewer than 200 breweries in total. But it is also a renaissance: on the eve of Prohibition, which lasted from 1920 to 1933, there were around 1,200 active breweries. With refrigeration scarce and refrigerated trucks scarcer, shipping American beer was then hard; most breweries served only local markets. Today, even small brewers may range far and wide. Drinkers in San Diego can sip a Maine-brewed Allagash, and Dogfish Head, the pride of Delaware, can be bought in Seattle.
America is also enjoying, if not a spiritual renaissance, at least a renaissance of spirits. At the dawn of the 19th century the country boasted 14,000 distillers. By the time Prohibition ended there were barely a dozen (excluding moonshiners). Much like American beer in the 1970s, American spirits were mostly produced by big companies with big brands: Jack Daniel’s whiskey, Jim Beam and Wild Turkey bourbon and Smirnoff vodka, for instance.
That has changed. Frank Coleman of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States says that in 2001 there were perhaps 24 craft distilleries in America–producers of at most 40,000 nine-liter cases a year. Today there are ten times as many. But even that ceiling is high for many independent distillers. Tuthilltown Spirits, a New York-based company that makes vodka, whiskey and gin, expects to produce around 8,000 cases this year. By way of comparison, in 2011 Jack Daniel’s sold 4.7 million cases in America and 10.6 million worldwide.
Craft distillers’ overall sales may be small, but they tend to be more profitable. They accounted for just over 25 percent of the volume of spirits sold in America last year, but more than 45 percent of the revenue. Their share of the overall spirits market is growing — measured in both revenue and volume.
Walk into a specialist bourbon bar and you will see scores, perhaps hundreds, of brands arrayed behind the counter. Despite the ersatz homeyness on the labels, many are made by big firms: Jim Beam, for instance, distils and bottles expensive brands such as Knob Creek, Basil Hayden’s and Booker’s. The label on bottles of Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve bourbon, which can sell for $50 a glass, says it is “Bottled by Old Rip Van Winkle distillery.” No such place exists. The fluid is made and bottled by Buffalo Trace, a Kentucky distillery that makes 12 different bourbons, a vodka, a couple of ryes and an eye-watering, 125-proof white dog (unaged whiskey).
ARLINGTON — For local residents who have ever wondered how they can begin to brew beer or wine at home, they can look no further than downtown.
Down Home Brew Supply is a brand new business on Fifth Street in downtown Arlington that opened on June 1.
Owners Mike and Amy Scarsella decided to open their own business selling home brewing supplies when Mike gained interest in the pastime some two years earlier.
“If you can bake cookies, you can brew beer,” said Scarsella, who grew up farming and has been growing hops in Arlington for about three years. That experience led him to have an interest in brewing. “I was already a member of the home brewer’s club here in Arlington,” he said.
Trading tips and ideas with other local home brewers alerted Scarsella to a pointed need for a supply store in the area.
“The nearest ones are in Anacortes and South Everett,” he said. So they opened their own store. They offer more than 50 specialty grains. “We have four different chocolates, four different barleys, dry malts, liquid malts, everything you need,” said Scarsella.
And beer is not the only drink that Scarsella’s customers can try their hands at making at home.
“On the wine side, we have all the fruit you need and all the supplies,” said Scarsella, although most of his customers have been interested in home brewing beer. But for those who have had an interest in home brewing but aren’t sure where to start, Down Home Brew Supply has something that will help.
“We’ve got the deluxe starter kit with all the brewing supplies for less than $150 dollars,” said Scarsella. Each batch yields five gallons and the brewer can choose which flavor profiles to employ.
“You’re brewing something that you actually want to drink,” said Scarsella. His wife, Amy, agreed. “It’s cool how they are all so different and we’re adding more all the time,” she said. “The best beer I’ve ever had is one that [Mike] made with coffee and vanilla beans and it was delicious. It’s funny because I used to always drink Bud Light, but now I don’t even like it anymore.”
The homebrew that Scarsella made had vanilla beans soaked in Portwood Scotch.
“It’s pretty darn delicious,” said Mike Scarsella. “It looks like road tar but it’s good.”
Down Home Brew Supply is located at 116 E. Fifth St. For more information call 360-403-3259.
Contact Arlington Times Reporter Lauren Salcedo at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-659-1300, Ext. 5054.
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Beer is only one reason to visit Milwaukee, a city rich in architecture, culture and a vibrant sustainable business community. When it comes to beer, the same could be true for just about any city or town in the U.S. Naturally every community brags about its local I.P.A. or lager, and generally the boasting is justified. But Lakefront Brewery recently started serving what it describes as the first truly “local” beer in the U.S.
Lakefront’s “Wisconsinite” adds to the company’s reputation for innovative brews. Last year Lakefront introduced its gluten-free New Grist, and had to go through bureaucratic hoops in the U.S. government in order to have it “officially approved” as a gluten free beer. Lakefront also sells the nation’s oldest USDA-approved organic brew.
So what makes a genuinely “local” beer?
It helps that Wisconsin benefits locavores with its ample farmland. Geography is a boost as well. The water, of course, comes from Lake Michigan. The wheat comes from Chilton, near Lake Winnebago and 80 miles north of Milwaukee. Malted barley is super local, processed by another local company, Malteurop, just across town. And the magic ingredient, hops, are grown 110 miles west in Mazomanie. For decades, most hops grown for U.S. beer production have been raised in Oregon, Washington and Idaho.
But the “local” in Wisconsinite beer includes the yeast, a local strain for which the company’s president pushed and was then developed by Northern Brewer, a home brewing supplies distributor. The strain is supposed to be the only North American-raised yeast available for commercial use. Lakefront has ramped up production of its unique yeast, and is available for commercial and home brewing beer production. The company insists that the yeast makes a huge difference in the taste of beer, so currently it sells the yeast without making any profit. Though the beer has already been a hit, do not count on Wisconsinite to stay local: good news about beer travels fast, and the brewery already distributes its other products in 35 U.S. states and most of Canada.
Photo courtesy Leon Kaye.
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SPARTANBURG, SC (FOX Carolina) -
The Spartanburg Science Center hosts plenty of classes teaching families about nature and, of course, science, but their latest class is for beer drinkers.
The Spartanburg Science Center, with the help of the University of South Carolina-Upstate, will teach a two-week course April 9 through 21 on home-brewing beer.
The Science of Beer Brewing Workshop classes will meet Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Chapman Cultural Center, and will explore the art, history, and science of the ancient art of brewing beer, which has a history that reaches back to the earliest of civilizations.
The class is limited to 20 adults (21-years-old or older) and costs $150 and will be taught by brewer Jay Adams, who was the North Carolina Brewer of the Year.
To register or for more information, please visit SpartanburgSciencecenter.org, call 583-2777, or email Science@SpartanburgScienceCenter.org.
Copyright FOX Carolina 2012 (Meredith Broadcasting). All rights reserved.
Jim Kohler breathed in the aroma. So did his son, Max. They looked at each other, nodded their heads and smiled.
The smell of home brewing on a Saturday morning made these Millcreek Township beer enthusiasts very happy.
“Some fathers and sons go fishing, some go to football games. We brew beer,” Jim Kohler, 69, said. He and his 35-year-old son began home brewing beer in January.
The Kohlers paid $10 each to take part in a home brewing class inside Bierhaus International, 3723 W. 12th St.
Today’s four-hour session was attended by 17 people and was taught by Albion native Jason Lavery, who began home brewing in 2004 before opening Lavery Brewing Co. in Erie in 2010.
Lavery’s demonstration produced a hoppy 5-gallon batch of Australian India Pale Ale. His students for the day, ranging in age from 20s to 60s, stood in the front of Bierhaus’ warehouse, surrounded by Pyrex glassware and stainless steel vats of boiling water.
See Sunday’s Erie Times-News and GoErie.com for more coverage.
Fifteen years ago when J.D. Ellis bought Mr. Dunderbaks German Biergarten, only a dozen people would show up at his tiny spot inside University Mall to talk about home-brewing beer.
These days he closes the brew hall and restaurant, now on Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, on the first Tuesday of each month to accommodate a club that includes 150 people.
It’s been a slow climb, but on the eve of its first Beer Week, the Tampa Bay area shows signs of becoming a bona fide destination for craft beer lovers in the state and across the country. From the long-established Tampa Bay Brewing Co. and Dunedin Brewery to relative newcomers Cigar City Brewery in Tampa, St. Somewhere Brewing in Tarpon Springs and Peg’s Cantina in Gulfport, hand-crafted, locally made beers are now only a short drive away.
Tampa Bay Beer Week starts Saturday and runs through March 10 with more than 100 events throughout the area, including several at Dunderbaks.
The inaugural week of beer events, which begins with the Florida Brewers Guild Beerfest and finishes with Cigar City’s release of its latest batch of Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout, is a sign that Tampa’s market is strong enough for beermakers in the state and across the country to cater to.
Conditions are improving for local brewers after decades of government regulations and pressure from mass-producing companies that kept better quality imported beers out of the state and prevented brewers from distributing homemade brands.
Those restrictions stunted the state’s craft beer growth, putting it behind flourishing beer towns such as Philadelphia, Denver and Boston, said blogger Gerard Walen of BeerInFlorida.com.
Those towns enjoy avid fans who flock to pubs, breweries and festivals to celebrate suds. Philadelphia’s Beer Week features more than 1,000 events and draws 50,000 participants. Colorado gives an incentive to breweries by taxing them less to export their beer than to sell it within state lines.
“Tampa is definitely growing in Florida, and getting a reputation outside the state, but still has a long way to go,” Walen says.
It wasn’t always this way.
Tampa’s Florida Brewing Company, the state’s first brewery, made ales and Cuban-influenced beers in Ybor City for six-plus decades before shutting down in 1961.
During that time, from 1934 to 1957, Southern Brewing Company made ales and lagers at its downtown Tampa plant at the corner of Zack and Pierce streets. The DeSoto Brewing Company and Ybor City Brewing Company also had brief runs in Tampa before folding.
That was before Budweiser and Miller became dominant national brands, and laws requiring distributors and restricting the size of containers kept metric-sized bottles of European breweries off store shelves.
With a limited number of styles available, beer lovers turned to home-brewing in the 1980s and ’90s to explore varieties they couldn’t find otherwise. Some who participated turned their hobby into a way of life, opening brew pubs and microbreweries, including the Tampa Bay Brewing Company, to cater to people like themselves who enjoy beer with more flavor.
As the movement has grown, companies like Anheuser-Busch slowly have been losing market share among avid beer fans, prompting them to create their own craft brands. In the meantime, distributors have been more willing to offer craft beers in their sales calls. And beer scenes in Orlando, Jacksonville and South Florida continue to mature and grow.
“It all goes hand in hand with people liking things more and more that are local and handcrafted,” said blogger Sean Nordquist, author of the St. Petersburg-based site BeerForTheDaddy.com,
“Craft beer drinkers like being able to go in and meet with the people who made it,” he said. “There’s a great deal of local pride in ‘our town’s brewery.’ “
In Tampa, Joey Redner’s Cigar City brand has made the biggest splash in recent years, after starting up in late 2008. Using Tampa history to market itself and infusing its beers with everything from cigar box cedar to citrus flavors, Cigar City has won national acclaim, including a gold medal at the 2009 Great American Beer Festival in Denver. The brand has become so iconic so quickly, there are plans to build a Cigar City microbrewery to greet fliers at Tampa International Airport. Costco has begun selling Jai Alai IPA by the case.
“Cigar City is pretty much leading the charge,” Walen said. “When I go outside the state to festivals, the first thing people ask when they hear I’m from Tampa is, ‘Are you near Cigar City?’ “
Redner started as a home-brewer, said Mike Fouch of Micro Man Distributors in Oldsmar. Fouch was an early craft beer proponent in Tampa, and has watched as several garage brewers graduated to more ambitious operations.
“This is a really close-knit group of people,” Fouch said. “It’s such a brotherhood. They became the basis for what is happening today.”
In an article in Slate, “What Beer Can Teach Us About Emerging Technologies,” Dave Conz writes that many DIY activities can be illegal in some towns:
“Home brewing is part of a broad spectrum of DIY activities including amateur astronomy, backyard biodiesel brewing, experimental architecture, open-source 3-D printing, even urban farming. (My pet chickens Pepper and Fanny eat my spent beer grains and, in turn, feed me breakfast.) Many of these pastimes can lead to new ideas, processes, and apparatus that might not otherwise exist. Depending on your hobby and your town, these activities can be officially encouraged, discouraged, unregulated, or illegal. For example, it’s illegal to make biodiesel fuel at home in the city of Phoenix (a simple process in which waste vegetable oil is mixed with methyl alcohol into which lye has been dissolved) but not regulated in the bordering towns of Scottsdale, Chandler, or Tempe (where I make mine). Based on its zoning laws, Phoenix considers the process ‘industrial’ and therefore prohibited in residential areas while the other cities do not. If making biodiesel were legal and encouraged, the reduction in exhaust emissions and diversion of grease from sewers and landfills could help clean up the ‘brown cloud’ of smog in the Valley of the Sun.
“We need more sensible policy like the legalization of home brewing beer. It’s unlikely that we’ll be able to successfully shop and consume our way into the best future, but we can make it brighter by encouraging DIY.”
I agree that governments, particularly local governments, need to do more to understand and adapt to what might be called DIY citizenship. Cities need to re-examine their industrial policy and zoning laws, redefining what light-industrial means and relaxing regulations that were meant for the industrial age when production was housed in factories. We need cities to become maker-friendly and welcome makerspaces, foster new maker businesses and support individuals who are now doing things that lawmakers of yesteryear didn’t expect them to be doing for themselves. It’s re-inventing what you can do in and around a city, even what you can do in your backyard and garage.
One consequence of not getting this right is that a city shuts down a makerspace, which happened in Nashua, New Hampshire earlier this year, even as it funds economic development efforts to attract entrepreneurs. Cities should encourage this kind of “homebrew” innovation and inspiration, which is a healthy form of growth.
Studying the emergence of makers and makerspaces in cities would be a great urban planning research project, developing a set of policy guidelines for cities to implement if they want to foster the kind of innovation and social change found in the Maker Movement.
Note: I will be speaking at the FutureTense – Tinkering with Tomorrow event this Wednesday in DC.
Some kids grow up wanting to be lawyers. Others aspire to be teachers. Still others choose to follow their parents into the family business or to pursue independent careers.
Few, however, dream they will brew beer for a living.
Luckily for frequenters of Westchester bars, Scott Vaccaro was one of those precious few.
With Vaccaro, 33, at the helm, the Captain Lawrence Brewing Co. is set to christen its new home in Elmsford this month, enabling the company to brew five times as much beer as it could at its Pleasantville location.
Now six years into the brewery’s existence, Vaccaro – a new father, to boot – said there is more work than ever as he looks to make Captain Lawrence a household name among Westchesterites. In addition to restaurants, the beer is available in some retail stores.
When he does take a moment to step back and look at how far he personally and the company as a whole have collectively come, though, he said the feeling is one of awe.
“I feel very blessed. I feel very fortunate. There’s not a day that goes by that I’m not amazed,” he said.
Captain Lawrence Brewing Co. will begin to produce beer at the new location and simultaneously stop brewing in Pleasantville Jan. 9, with the Elmsford tasting room tentatively scheduled to open Jan. 19.
The thought of home-brewing beer first occurred to Vaccaro as a senior in high school in 1995 when he visited a friend’s house and noticed the father making a home brew on the kitchen stovetop.
Fast-forward 11 years, and Vaccaro’s journey took him from the family’s home on Captain Lawrence Drive in South Salem, to the University of California at Davis, where he majored in fermentation science, and to the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. in Chico, Calif., before he came back East to work at the Colorado Brewery and Steakhouse in Danbury, Conn.
After the Colorado Brewery closed, Vaccaro approached his family with the idea of founding a brewery, and on the eve of the 2006 Super Bowl the Captain Lawrence Brewing Co. opened its tasting room to customers.
Market saturation the goal
The challenge since then has been convincing bar and restaurant owners – and their customers – to rally behind the new brewery.
“I remember very clearly: Before opening, my father said, ‘I know you can make great beer, but can you sell it?’” Vaccaro said.
So far, the answer has been “yes.”
In the company’s first year, it brewed 600 barrels of beer (one barrel equals 31 gallons). In 2011, some 9,000 barrels of Captain Lawrence beer were produced and Vaccaro said with plans to start packaging beer in 12-ounce bottles this year, total output could double by the end of 2012.
“We’re hoping for 100 percent growth with the bottles,” he said. Currently some 98 percent of the beer sold by the brewery is in draft form, but with the move to expand bottling operations that the new facility offers, Vaccaro said he hopes to even out the ratio of draft to bottled beer.
“It depends on when we get them out. If we start in the second quarter, we’d like to get to 70-30 (draft to bottled) and the next year get up to 50-50 but it could happen faster.”
With close to 1,000 client accounts, Vaccaro said the temptation is to expand marketing efforts to include areas further away from the New York metropolitan area but for now the only concern is increasing product saturation in current markets.
“We’re fully in the lower 15 counties (of New York). Manhattan is our biggest market. But the farther you get from home, the less ‘local’ matters.”
Popularity: 1% [?]
BY JOHN ROSZKOWSKI
January 2, 2012 6:00PM
Bruce Dir recently opened Tighthead Brewery in Mundelein. The microbrewery supplies various bars and venues as well as offering a tasting bar at its location near the Metra Station in downtown Mundelein. | Dan Luedert~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 2, 2012 6:18PM
Bruce Dir has turned his passion for craft beer into a new career.
Dir is owner and founder of Tighthead Brewing Co., Mundelein’s newest microbrewery located on Archer Avenue near the downtown Metra station.
With money he saved over the years and help from a Small Business Administration loan, Dir converted a portion of the former Anatol building into the new Tighthead Brewery. The business opened up its tap room area to the public Dec. 22, giving residents a taste of some of Tighthead’s unique craft beers. Those include the Comfortably Blond Ale, the Scarlet Fire Red Ale, the Irie IPA (India Pale Ale) and the Boxcar Porter, a dark, rich winter seasonal beer.
Pints of beer range from $4.75 to $5.75 depending upon the type of brew customers choose. They can also purchase 64-ounce sealed jugs of beer, known as growlers.
Dir said the crowds have been good during the first few days since the bar area opened.
“It’s a pretty diverse crowd,” said Dir. “We’ve had older people coming in along with couples sitting right next to 21 year olds. But everyone has an appreciation for craft beer. That’s the common theme.”
Dir has plenty of experience brewing craft beer. He has been home-brewing beer for 17 years and is part of the Babble Homebrewing Club, which has held home brewing demonstrations the past two years during Mundelein Days. He worked for about a year at Flatlander’s Restaurant and Brewery in Lincolnshire as an assistant brewer and obtained a commercial brewing certificate from the Siebel Institute of Technology in Chicago in 2010.
Early customers were not disappointed by the quality of the beer.
Eric Bruce of Grayslake visited the tap room of the brewery with a friend, Mike Catuara of Chicago. It was his second visit to the brewery since the bar opened.
“I used to be part of the Babble Homebrewing Club years ago and I knew Bruce and I knew it would be good,” he said. “All the beers are really outstanding, really high quality.”
Dan and Valerie Morey of Mundelein were excited when the bar area finally opened.
Valerie Morey is particularly fond of the India Pale Ale, while Dan Morey likes the variety of brews that are offered and looks forward to the brewery’s selection of seasonal brews.
Dan Morey thinks the brewery will prove to be a popular attraction for residents of Mundelein and surrounding communities.
“I think Mundelein is a little underappreciated in terms of the villages around this area, and I think he’s trying to change that image,” he said. “I know Mundelein’s excited about having them here. I think it’s going to be a real good thing.”
The bar area, however, will only be a small part of the brewery’s business. Tighthead Brewery is a commercial production brewery that produces kegs of different varieties of brew for bars and restaurants throughout the area.
Dir said they’ve already sold beer to a number of Lake County bars and restaurants, including Park Street restaurant in Mundelein, Gale Street Inn in Mundelein, Firkin’s in Libertyville, Whirlyball in Vernon Hills, Cubbie Bear North in Lincolnshire, Biaggi’s in Deerfield and the Vine in Grayslake. He said they plan to expand their distribution into parts of Cook County this month.
“We’ll be expanding our distribution quite a bit and it will open up a lot more opportunities,” he said.
Dir said the brewery plans to add brewery tours on weekends and hopes to add some outdoor events in the parking lot during warmer months.
“I’ve told the village that breweries are destination spots,” he said. “A lot of people like to do tastings and like to do tours.”
Hours of operation for the bar area are Wednesday through Friday, 4-10 p.m.; Saturdays, noon to 10 p.m.; and Sundays, noon to 6 p.m.
More information about Tighthead Brewery is available at the company’s Web site, www.tightheadbrewing.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/Tighthead-Brewing or by calling (847) 970-9174.
Court Conn and his sons have been home-brewing beer for four or five years.
“We’ve made some great beers,” he said. “Now, we’re going bigger.”
Conn and his wife, Karen, plan to open Obed and Isaac’s Microbrewery Eatery in mid-January, just steps from Lincoln’s Home.
The project was once planned for the so-called Maisenbacher House, the building that was moved five blocks on wheels three years ago to avoid a wrecking ball. Conn said installing a restaurant and bar inside the Maisenbacher House ended up being too expensive.
Instead, the Conns will open a microbrewery inside a 100-year-old carriage house on the Maisenbacher property, and the restaurant will be just across the alley in the historic Booth-Grunendike House and carriage house at Sixth and Jackson streets.
The microbrewery eventually will feature 12 specialty beers. Their first will be called “Obed’s Pride,” an amber ale. Their beer selection also will include an India pale ale, a porter and a stout.
“We’re really going to be big on seasonals,” Conn said. “We want to do the off-the-wall stuff.” (Take for example, a watermelon wheat beer he brewed back in August using fresh watermelon from Beardstown.)
Once brewed, the beer will be piped under the alley, fresh to the taps inside Obed and Isaac’s. Patrons also will be able to take home half-gallon growler jugs of beer, but the Conns have no plans to be distributors.
The bar and restaurant, which will be open seven days a week, will be on the first floor of the Booth-Grunendike House and carriage house.
Court Conn said they expect the restaurant to be family friendly, with a “middle of the road” menu — not bar food, but not fancy enough for white tablecloths, either.
The eatery will have seating for more than 90 people in six rooms, with additional al fresco dining available during the warmer months, Conn said.
Outdoor diners, he said, will have a view of Lincoln’s Home and the Capitol. The couple also hopes to capitalize on traffic from the nearby Hoogland Center for the Arts.
“There are people who think the location’s nuts,” Conn said. “We don’t think it is. We think just it’s an area that’s underdeveloped. And maybe we’ll be the catalyst for other development in the neighborhood.”
Years in making
The project has been in the works for years. But a microbrewery and restaurant weren’t part of the original plans. Neither was buying two houses.
The Conns’ restoration project was originally planned for the Maisenbacher House, which originally was at 1028 S. Seventh St.
The Maisenbacher building, one of about 100 Lincoln-era structures left in Springfield, was in danger of being torn down for a parking lot as part of Springfield Clinic’s expansion.
In October 2008, the Springfield City Council approved a last-minute agreement that allowed the building to be moved five blocks north, to Seventh and Jackson streets, rather than be demolished.
The exterior of the Maisenbacher House will still be restored, Conn said, but interior renovations will wait for now.
After the Conns determined it wasn’t practical to put a microbrewery and restaurant in the Maisenbacher building, they purchased the next-door Booth-Grunendike mansion, which had been in foreclosure.
Deana Stroisch can be reached at 788-1533.
What’s with the name?
The lot at Seventh and Jackson streets where the Maisenbacher House sits formerly was the site of a home owned by Obed Lewis. That building was torn down so the Maisenbacher House could be moved there. And the Maisenbacher House originally was built by Isaac Lindsay (with the help of a $650 loan from Abraham Lincoln).
Hence the name: Obed and Isaac’s.
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