Downtown Grayslake may become home to a small-scale beer brewing operation that would have a tasting area for up to 40 customers and retail sales.
Grayslake trustees recently gave a tentative thumbs-up for Light the Lamp Brewery's proposal for a building in the village's downtown at 10 N. Lake St. Mayor Rhett Taylor said before the plan goes up for final approval, village staff will check to ensure the building has enough ventilation to combat potential odor from the brewing process.
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"This is something that is unique and would be distinct and it would be another business moving to our downtown, so from that perspective it's recommended," Taylor said.
Light the Lamp chief financial officer Jeff Sheppard said the operation wouldn't be big enough to be called a microbrewery. As defined by the Brewers Association, a microbrewery produces fewer than 15,000 barrels a year with more than 75 percent sold off site.
Sheppard said Light the Lamp would be a "nanobrewery," with space set aside in the Lake Street building offering 30 to 40 patrons an opportunity to sample a variety of beer. Food wouldn't be sold at Light the Lamp, Sheppard said, but visitors could bring their own eats into the business.
If opened, Light the Lamp would be similar to Tighthead Brewing Co. in Mundelein. Tighthead is a production brewery, which means beer is sold for consumption in a limited bar area or to be brought home.
Under a proposed amendment to Grayslake's liquor ordinance, consumption of beer and ale at Light the Lamp would be allowed at a maximum two tables immediately adjacent to the front entrance from noon to 9 p.m. Six-ounce sample beer flight would be allowed for sale.
Trustee Shawn Vogel said he came away impressed after meeting with Light the Lamp's ownership before the proposal was addressed by a village board committee.
"It's an organization trying to take it beyond a hobby and turn it into a business," Vogel said.
Craft brewing increased 13 percent by volume and 15 percent in sales for 2011, according to the Brewers Association. Retail sales were an estimated $8.7 billion in 2011, compared to $7.6 billion in 2010.