After working as a pharmacist for nearly a decade, Ben Sampson was ready to try something different.
By June, Sampson hopes to open a brewery and tasting room called Dry City Brew Works at 120B N. Main St. in his hometown of Wheaton, which prohibited the sale of alcohol until the mid-1980s.
"This is just a little more creative outlet for me," Sampson said, adding that his chemistry and biology background helps him get batches of beer right the first time.
After visiting a handful of breweries on a trip through Michigan with his wife, Jessica, a few years ago, Sampson became extra enthusiastic about opening his own.
"We love the community of craft beer," Jessica said. "It's just something that's a lot of fun."
Sampson said Jessica and her parents, Dave and Lori Carr of Glen Ellyn, will help operate the brewery. The Carrs had been looking to start a catering business or open a wine shop, but they found a happy compromise with their son-in-law's idea.
While other breweries often focus on one style of beer, Sampson said Dry City will offer everything from imperial stouts to a wheat ale called Wheat(on).
"We're just going to do kind of whatever we want, and do it the best that we can," he said.
Sampson said he started home-brewing about five years ago. He has created about 30 recipes, but plans to sell only about 15 to customers.
Throughout the year, the beers will be rotated, with about four or five on tap at a time, Sampson said. Customers will be limited to three samples at the brewery, which will include an outdoor patio and space for about 30 people inside. Anyone wanting to take home larger bottles of beer will be able to purchase bombers or growlers.
No food will be served, but Sampson said he is open to the idea of possibly turning the business into a brew pub in the future. For now, he envisions the brewery being a good gathering place in downtown Wheaton that will be open in the evening and anytime he is brewing beer.
"We're trying to do something different to bring a younger crowd downtown and revitalize it a little bit," he said, adding that city officials and downtown restaurant owners who one day may sell the beer have expressed support for the business.
For updates on Dry City Brew Works, visit facebook.com/DryCityBrewWorks.