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Microbrewery Idea Gets Bubbly Reception From Grayslake Village Board

A group of Grayslake friends is proposing to open a small microbrewery in the downtown.

A Grayslake resident who is proposing to open a micro-brewery downtown got a bubbly reception from the village board Tuesday.

The proposal was discussed during the board's informal committee-of-the-whole meeting Sept. 4.

Mayor Rhett Taylor called the proposed addition to Lake Center Place, located at 10 N. Lake St., "unique and distinct."

Hobby Gone Wild

Grayslake resident Jeff Sheppard, who owns Light the Lamp Brewery with three friends, told Patch their home brewing "hobby gone wild" is ready to be unleashed as a bricks and mortar business where customers can purchase and taste test a selection of microbrews that will change with the seasons.

The brews will also be sold to distributors.

"We've got a good product and hope to be open by the end of the year," said Sheppard.

The new business venture will need the formal approval of the Grayslake Village Board. On Tuesday, Mayor Taylor and the trustees discussed a proposed amendment to the village's liquor ordinance, which if approved, would establish a new license classification for microbreweries.

Trustee Ron Jarvis, who has studied microbrewing and has worked for a microbrewer, had initial concerns for the size of the operation proposed for Lake Center Place, which includes small retailers and condominiums.

"If you have a microbrewery, you have a small factory," said Jarvis. "I can't imagine that at 10 N. Lake St. You're talking about quite a big production."

The use is allowed under the village's zoning ordinance, even though it is mixed in with residential.

Sheppard clarified that Light the Lamp Brewery will be a much smaller microbrewery compared with those such as He said his brewery, which will not sell food, will be more akin to Tighthead in Mundelein.

Sheppard called Light the Lamp Brewery a "nanobrewery," explaining that they plan to operate a two-barrel system, brewing only about 30 gallons at a time.

"We believe the site will definitely be able to handle what we're producing," said Sheppard.

The brewery would manufacture and sell four house brews and three seasonal brews, all with hockey themes because the owners' kids play hockey together.

Jarvis also had concerns that the brewery would give off an unpleasant odor for the nearby residents in the building, but Sheppard said he did not think it would be a concern.

Village staff said the retail location does not share a ventilation system with the condos, but the building department will review the concern to be certain.

Liquor License Restrictions

Light the Lamp Brewery will not sell food, but customers will be permitted to bring in food from outside vendors. There will be space for 30 to 40 customers to taste test the brews. The consumption of small sample glasses of 6 ounces will be permitted.

Also per liquor ordinance restrictions, consumption of ale and beer sold by the brewery can occur at up to two tables immediately adjacent to the front entrance of the brewery between noon and 9 p.m. only.

Alcohol sales will be not be allowed between midnight and noon, and only alcohol produced on the premises by the brewery can be sold.

The brewery must also have a retail area of at least 40 percent of the total floor space where the ale and beer produced is sold in packages or for consumption on the premises. The sale of kegs can occur in accordance with the liquor code.

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