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Guinness opens Chicago brewery

Diageo-owned stout brand Guinness is opening its Guinness Open Gate Brewery in Chicago, Illinois to the public tomorrow (Thursday 28 September).

The new facility, located at 901 West Kinzie St. in the West Loop neighbourhood, is housed in an old railway depot and boasts of a brewery, taproom, restaurant and, in a world first for Guinness, a bakery. In total, it is some 15,000 square feet in size.

It is Guinness’ second US brewery, with the first opening in Baltimore in 2018.

Rodney Williams, president of Diageo Beer Company, called the opening “an exciting step” and remarked: “It’s been a long journey, but we are so thrilled to be opening our doors this week and to contribute to Chicago’s world class food and beer scene.”

“As a Chicago native,” Williams added, “I can confidently share that we aim to celebrate and showcase this great city and make a positive impact in the community, all while serving great beer.”

In the taproom, visitors will have access to a rotating selection of a dozen or more experimental draughts, alongside stalwarts like Guinness Draught Stout, Guinness Extra Stout, and Guinness Foreign Extra Stout (which will be brewed in Dublin). Among the beers that will be produced and served at the Chicago facility, under brewer Megan Schwarz, are the Corn Maize Cream Ale and Kinzie Street Pale Ale.

The food offering, helmed by chef Taylor Bischof and in collaboration with local joint venture Dream Team Hospitality, apparently draws both on traditional Irish cooking and Chicago classics. Indeed, the city has a large population of inhabitants with Irish ancestry – about 200,000, double that of Boston (though proportionally much less). The Chicago River is also dyed green every St. Patrick’s Day.

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker welcomed Guinness’ arrival in the city and said: “Guinness’ commitment to community engagement and sustainability is admirable, and I’m pleased that both locals and visitors alike will have access to yet another unique cultural and culinary opportunity while in Chicago — a city with a proud history of both.”

As for sustainability, 100% of the energy the facility will use will apparently come from renewable sources.

Chicago is a city of and for beer lovers, with it ranking as the best city in the world to enjoy a cold one, according a study from Travelbag.

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