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By Anna Lothson
The brew pub revolution may be coming to Oak Park.
With the help of Brian Buckman, owner of Illuminated Brew Works, the establishment would be the first of its kind in the village.
According to Village Clerk Teresa Powell, Oak Park's legal department is still in the process of drafting a new liquor license type and that license would require approval from multiple boards.
Although the exact location isn't set, Buckman indicated an ideal location would be near the CTA Green Line, likely in the Oak Park Avenue/South Boulevard area.
As explained at the liquor control review board last month, Illuminated Brew Works would provide locally produced beer and food. Patrons would be able to taste fresh beer and take classes to learn how to make it. The space would be equipped with a small brewery and tasting spot with a dining area.
Buckman, a Chicago resident, told the liquor board that he looked at opening in the city, but said Oak Park has been more supportive of the idea.
The current timeline for opening is 18 months, according to minutes from the May 22 liquor control review board. Buckman said he anticipated establishing a brewing facility adjacent to the operation in 12 to 18 months.
The pub would have eight taps; four would be theirs and four would be "guest taps" from other Midwest regional beers that would be regularly rotated. Growlers, or reusable containers, would also be available for sale of their beers.
Food offered is said to be small plates, various meats and sandwiches, according to the minutes. In the mornings the pub would offer artisanal coffee and baked goods.
Sara Faust, president of Oak Park Development Corporation, said the group fully supports the microbrewery and pub. She said there's been effort for the past two years to bring such an establishment to the village.
"I think it calls to a demographic in Oak Park that we have — both the connoisseur and younger clientele," she said, naming the popularity of the Oak Park's microbrew fest. "It's an element that we don't have."
Faust said Buckman has provided very organized plans. Likewise, the liquor commission, she said, has asked many thoughtful questions and seems open to reviewing all plans. She said OPDC has been involved in scoping out potential locations that would be good from a zoning perspective, and said the group will continue to help as the plans progress.
Although this would be first microbrewery in Oak Park, Faust said there are ongoing conversations between others and OPDC about bringing similar establishments to the village.
"We think it's a very good fit," she said.