Having spent the better part of the Thanksgiving weekend with a bottle of beer in hand, it seems quite appropriate to write about one of Chicago’s beer companies, Goose Island. My boyfriend is obsessed with 312, one of their beers brewed in the city’s honor.
According to the company’s website, Goose Island Beer Co. was founded in 1988 by John Hall, a former businessman for the Container Corporation. For his job in the packaging industry, Hall often had to travel to Europe; on each trip, he sampled local and regional beers. The beer enthusiast, during a delayed flight, began reading an airplane magazine article on boutique beers. The article inspired him to open his own brewery where Chicagoans could enjoy a local beer.
Hall opened his first “brewpub” at 1800 N. Clybourn Avenue in Chicago on May 13, 1988. Since then, Goose Island Beer Co. has expanded significantly, with a second brewery/pub in Wrigleyville. Goose Island now produces 50 craft beers, including Honker’s Ale, Nut Brown Ale my boyfriend’s beloved 312, and a Christmas Ale that I am eager to try. Goose Island ships its beers to 15 states and to the UK.
If there’s anything to be learned from Goose Island’s story it’s that: 1. Those airplane magazines might actually be worth reading, 2. You can’t go wrong if you make a product that you are passionate about and that “nearly every American adult like[s]”, in the words of John Hall, and 3. Chicagoans love their beer!
For anyone who is interested, you can find out more info about their beers, their brewery and pubs, and the company history at: