In the little town of Marquette, Wisconsin, a whistle blows every day at noon.
For Paul Kreiner, who has vacationed there for years with his family, it's a signal that it's time to crack open a beer.
Contact information ( * required )
This November, Kreiner and some longtime friends are taking that concept to another level with the opening of Noon Whistle Brewing at 800 E. Roosevelt Road in Lombard. Construction on the 5,300-square-foot space begins this week.
The brewery will focus on "session beers," or brews with less than 5 percent alcohol by volume, Kreiner said. He believes the selection will appeal to customers who want to enjoy several beers over a few hours, but still want to maintain some measure of sobriety.
"The whole concept is it's OK to go to lunch and have a beer or two and it's OK to have a beer during the day," he said.
Kreiner has worked on the distributing side of the beer industry for the past decade, but in the past three years he has been striving toward his goal of opening his own brewery.
During that time, he completed an associate's brewing program at the Siebel Institute of Technology and kept up with his hobby of home-brewing.
A few of the recipes Kreiner plans to debut at Noon Whistle include a dark golden colored German Weiss called Roh-Ze-Velt, a hoppy Belgium Wit that's only 4.8 percent alcohol by volume and an American IPA called the Kindhouse.
"It's been a whirlwind of basically getting investors, getting permitting, buying equipment. But now that it's finally come to an end, I don't know how to put it into words," he said with a pause. "My dreams are really coming all together.
One of Kreiner's business partners, Jim Cagle, said while craft beer is growing in popularity, a lot of local governments don't have codes in place yet to allow for microbreweries.
He said Noon Whistle's owners looked at several other locations, including Oak Park and Addison, but settled on Lombard because of the demographics and the cooperation they received from village officials.
"Everyone has been so nice to us from day one," Kreiner said. "They're interested in our business and how we can be good together, as a community and a brewery, and really that's what's kept us going, the interest from both sides."
Food won't be served at the brewery, but customers will be allowed to order food from local restaurants and Kreiner hopes to get food trucks to stop by the brewery regularly.
"We didn't really want to overcomplicate the venture," Cagle said. "It's really all about the beer."
There are plans to have eight beers on tap at a time, including some seasonal brews that will be on rotation. Kreiner said he hopes to start canning and distributing the beers to local restaurants and bars, and eventually grocery and liquor stores, within the first three to six months of opening.
Cagle said another goal is to make customers feel like they're part of the brewing process.
"When you're in the tasting room you'll see all the giant tanks right there," he said. "It's really kind of an interactive, customer-driven experience."
Kreiner said he'll make it an "intimate occasion" when people come in, as they'll be able to talk to him about the brewing process and enjoy beers that were made in the same location.
"If I'm brewing, they're there with me," he said. "If I'm not, I'll probably be behind the bar serving the beers."