Naperville ends serving limits at breweries

  • Solemn Oath Brewery and 2 Fools Cider in Naperville no longer have to adhere to a three-drink maximum when serving customers in their tap rooms.

    Solemn Oath Brewery and 2 Fools Cider in Naperville no longer have to adhere to a three-drink maximum when serving customers in their tap rooms. Daily Herald file photo November 2013

Updated 11/9/2018 10:55 AM

Restrictions on breweries and specialty wine shops in Naperville have been lifted or loosened, meaning it's now possible for customers to drink more during each visit to places such as Solemn Oath Brewery or Tasting deVine Cellars.

The city has eliminated all restrictions on how many drinks breweries can serve to a patron during a visit; it previously had set that limit at three.


And at the four specialty wine shops in Naperville, the ounce limit is now 18, up from 12, allowing three 6-ounce glasses for each customer during a visit, up from two.

The city council approved the changes by an 8-1 vote Wednesday, with council member Rebecca Boyd-Obarski voting no.

The removal of the serving limit for breweries, which affects Solemn Oath and 2 Fools Cider, initially was troubling to a few members of the council because the businesses operate without kitchens or the requirement to offer patrons food.

But at least three members said they visited with Solemn Oath founder John Barley at his business, which allayed their concerns about the likelihood of patrons being overserved. They learned breweries often have food trucks on site or catered food from restaurants available, and they give their servers extra training to recognize when a customer has had too much to drink.

"Their culture isn't people that sit there and drink all day," council member Paul Hinterlong said. "They don't have the hours for those kind of people, either. That's not their clientele."

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Breweries also gained the ability to sell craft beer or cider manufactured at other facilities, as long as 75 percent of what they sell is under their brand's label, and the ability to host up to 12 special events a year, when the previous limit was two. A requirement to provide prepared food during special events has been added.

Barley said the updates will allow his business to contract out the production of its most popular beer, leaving the Naperville facility available for innovation of new brews.

Permission to host more events will help build the Solemn Oath brand and take advantage of outdoor patio space for "creative and engaging" activities such as farmers markets, antique car shows or motorcycle shows.

"We just would like the freedom," he said, "to come up with creative concepts, both small and large."

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