St. Charles approves liquor license for nanobrewery
A new nanobrewery specializing in craft beer soon will join a restaurant and liquor store operating under the same roof -- and the same liquor license -- in St. Charles.
93 Octane Brewing is expected to open by year's end in a vacant space at 1825 Lincoln Hwy., which also is occupied by The Pride Beer and Wine plus Spirits and Urban Counter, a fast-casual American restaurant. Suburban company The Pride Stores Inc., oversees all three operations, in addition to an adjacent gas station and convenience store.
93 Octane is a new concept for The Pride Stores, which initially intended to open an Italian deli in the building's third tenant space, marketing manager Chris Peckat said. When those plans fell through, he started exploring a new business model that would allow the company to create its own brand of beer and distribute the product to other Pride locations.
"I think it fits together really well," said Peckat, who has years of prior experience in the alcohol industry. "This really is just a great addition to the whole building."
City officials have been working with Pride representatives for months about the logistics of opening the nanobrewery and providing cross access between all three businesses, Police Chief James Keegan said. The city council this week approved granting the company a new sitewide liquor license that would allow alcohol to be brewed and consumed throughout the property, or sold and carried out in sealed containers.
Under that liquor license, which was recently created by the city, customers could buy a beer at the nanobrewery and drink it while eating a meal at Urban Counter or shopping at the liquor store.
"We really pride ourselves on being business-friendly," Keegan said. "We try to be on the forefront of being open and receptive to different ideas and creativity. (93 Octane) is a perfect example of that."
A handful of entrepreneurs recently have expressed interest in opening breweries in St. Charles, Keegan said, pointing to the increasing popularity of local craft beer. "This is definitely a hot marketplace," he said.
93 Octane could open within the next six months after equipment is ordered and delivered, Peckat said. The company also needs to obtain federal and state liquor licenses.
Though 93 Octane will offer some seasonal options, he said, the brewery is expected to largely focus on its "core brand" of beers, which will include a stout and a New England pale ale.
"I'm hoping we bring something to the community in the point of giving people another option to buy something hyperlocal and something craft," Peckat said. "You don't have to stop at the large retailers to buy craft beers."