Chicago beer fans awoke with a start Monday at the news that the Goose Island Beer Company had been sold to Belgian-owned brewing powerhouse Anheuser-Busch for $38.8 million. Here’s a story from our Changing Gears partner WBEZ.
Goose Island has been a fixture in Chicago and across the Midwest for years, but it became even better known to Chicago visitors when it opened its brewpub on Clybourn Avenue in 1988. (Its name comes from the only island in the Chicago River. ) In a sense, it is synonymous with Mayor Richard Daley’s quest to develop Chicago beyond the lake front, as Niala Boodhoo reported earlier this year.
Back then, Clybourn was a largely industrial corridor. Now, it’s a lively neighborhood, with shops, apartments, and as everyone around Chicago knows, lots of traffic on the weekends.
Over the past quarter century, Goose Island’s lineup has grown from a few micro brews to a lineup of 50 products ranging from limited production, high priced beverages to its every day brands like 312 Urban Wheat Ale and Honkers Ale. It also makes soda. Demand has been so great that the brewery outsourced some production to a plant in New Hampshire.
On Twitter Monday,where “Goose Island” was a worldwide trending topic, there was a lot of teasing from St. Louis beer (and baseball) fans of their Chicago counterparts. Wrote @kenkogler: “On behalf of beer lovers everywhere and the citizens of St Louis: sorry, Chicago. PS: Go Cards.”
Do you have a favorite Great Lakes region beer? Any recommendations for fellow beer lovers? Post them in the comments section.