Local Breweries Highlight a Dynamic Community of Small Businesses and Creative Industry in Ravenswood
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Known to Chicagoans as “Malt Row”, the Ravenswood Industrial Corridor and surrounding area has earned its reputation as “Chicago most diverse beer destination.” Whether you’re looking for a German-style lager, barrel-aged Barleywine, or a spontaneously fermented saison, you’ll find it on Malt Row. Not a hop head? The corridor is also home to KOVAL, Chicago’s first (legal) post-prohibition distillery, and VIN312 Winery.
The Ravenswood Corridor and surrounding area is home to some of Chicago’s best and most unique craft beer options. Once a turn-of-the-century hub for industry, this stretch of road is now a mosaic of creative businesses and artisans intertwined into a uniquely residential backdrop.Jack Muldowney of hopculture.com
Community of Makers
Along the Metra tracks that cut through Ravenswood Avenue you’ll find dozens of beautiful, massive industrial buildings. Some are home to metalworkers, manufacturers, commercial bakeries, and artist studios. Outside, the greenway along the tracks grass is lined with trees, community gardens, sculptures, and picnic spaces.
The corridor intersects with Montrose Avenue, a trendy commercial district that’s home to a vibrant mix of cafes, taverns, boutiques, and restaurants. Sidewalk patios and murals dot the street, which includes art studios, gift shops, and a home brew supply store.
The CTA’s Brown Line train rattles overhead and the new Metra Station at Lawrence Avenue is bustling; both function as portals from busier, grayer places to scenic Ravenswood.
The Industrial Corridor stretches north of Foster Avenue, into Bowmanville. Hidden in this quiet residential community is Tempel Steel’s enormous campus, and another stretch of industrial buildings along Wolcott and Balmoral. Here again, the corridor is surrounded with community gardens, murals, and mosaic installations. Nearby on Foster and Damen Avenues, you’ll find cafes, pizza parlors, taquerias, and beautiful Winnemac Park.
Perfect Conditions for the Craft Beer Boom
Over the last decade, a constantly growing and evolving community of craft beverage producers has thrived here in Ravenswood. The combination of available facilities, necessary zoning and infrastructure, city resources, access to public transit, and thirsty residential community are ideal conditions for emerging breweries.
Giants of the Chicago beer scene were born on Malt Row; including Half Acre (still here!) and Metropolitan (just celebrated a decade brewing beer). Other past tenants have included Band of Bohemia (the world’s first Michelin-stared brewpub), Aquanaut Brewing Co., and Letherbee Distillery.
Today, Malt Row is home to upwards of 10 independent craft breweries, an internationally awarded distillery, an innovative winery, and the world headquarters of the Cicerone Certification Program.
From Craft Beer to Artisan Spirits: Encouraging Cultural Ferment through Local Events and Programs
In 2017, with the announcement of Malt Row kicking off Chicago Craft Beer Week, we released our first guidebook, profiling the neighborhood’s breweries, taprooms, and restaurants. Ever since the launch, there has been an increase in collaborations not only within the craft beverage community but also, between the brewers and local businesses.
As part of our commitment to connecting Malt Row with businesses in the community, we’ve developed a variety of programs, events, and campaigns that highlight the flavors of Ravenswood. Whether we’re connecting art galleries with the brewers for openings, organizing tap takeovers, coordinating collaborative brew days, or planning summer street festivals, we hope to encourage more visitors to explore what this incredible community has to offer.
- KOVAL Distillery’s New Tasting Room and Patio Are Now OpenOn Friday, October 1st, KOVAL’s new on-site tasting room and patio officially open to the public! These new spaces join KOVAL’s visitors center, tours, classes, events, and retail shop to provide visitors a fully immersive experience. Read more “KOVAL Distillery’s New Tasting Room and Patio Are Now Open”
Explore Malt Row
Malt Row is walkable, easily accessible by CTA Brown Line, the UP-North Ravenswood Metra, and has plentiful bike-sharing options. Download a copy of our Malt Row Guidebook and share your experience with us on social media using the hashtag #MaltRow. Welcome to Ravenswood’s Malt Row, cheers!
- Begyle Brewing
- Dovetail Brewery
- Empirical Brewery
- Half Acre Beer Company
- Keeping Together
- KOVAL Distillery
- LaGrow Organic Beer Co.
- Smylie Brothers Brewing Co.
- Spiteful Brewing
- Urban Brew Labs
Malt Row Events + Opportunities
Ravenswood Industrial Corridor and the surrounding area has earned a reputation as “Chicago most diverse beer destination.” To highlight the brewers and distillers along Malt Row, the Greater Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce coordinates annual events such as Ravenswood on Tap and Taste of Ravenswood. Each event has various volunteer needs, sponsorship and advertising opportunities. Get involved and join our hopping community!