Community. Sustainability. Originality. These terms help define the craft beer movement.
One way breweries have been espousing these principals is by rehabilitating historic buildings and repurposing them into breweries. It seems only fitting that craft brewers are often the ones revitalizing the past. After all, the craft beer boom has helped America get in touch with its pre-industrial roots when local artisans hand-crafted items largely used by those within the local community.
Argus Brewery, Chicago, Illinois
– in a Stable
Argus brewery is located in the historic Pullman district of Chicago. George Pullman helped transform passenger travel on railways. However, Argus is attached to an even older form of transportation – horses. The Argus brewery was once an early 1900s stable for Joseph E. Schlitz, as seen by two terra cotta horse heads that adorn the front of the building.
Atlas Brewing, Chicago, Illinois
– in a Potato Chip Factory
Like Mission, Atlas resurrected the name of a pre-Prohibition brewery. They recently moved into the Jay’s Potato Chip factory – a big part of Chicago’s history. Co-owner Ben Saller says, “Our company was founded by lifelong Chicagoans. We were excited to set up shop in a space with that kind of history. We would much rather make use of an unused building than build something new.”
Brewer’s Alley Brewpub, Frederick County, Maryland
– in a Former City Hall/Opera House
The Brewer’s Alley name and location enjoys a long history that began in the 1760s. The city replaced the original building in 1873 with the current structure where Brewer’s Alley resides. The beer stopped flowing in 1901, but the new Brewer’s Alley revived the name in 1996. During the hiatus, the site played host to a city hall, farmer’s market, opera house and theater.
The Church Brew Works, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
– in a Church
The backbone of many communities is their church, so it’s fitting that at least one brewery converted an old church into a brewery. The brick and mortar dates back to 1902, but the history of the parish started in the 19th century. A time capsule, which details the area and church’s history, is located in the building’s cornerstone. Meanwhile, old confessional bricks were used for the pillars of an outdoor sign and a facade for both a ramp and kitchen.
Firehouse Brewing, Rapid City, South Dakota
– in a Firehouse
The personification of community exists in its civil servants. Firehouse Brewing celebrates the community’s 100-year history of firefighting by residing in a firehouse that was built in 1915. As their website explains, “[The] bar is adorned with authentic South Dakota firefighting memorabilia from the days of Rapid City’s first fire brigades, including the original fire pole, ladders, patches and more.” It’s also a community cultural center, hosting theater performances on the second floor.
Huske Hardware House Restaurant & Brewery, Fayetteville, North Carolina
– in a Hardware Store
The Huske family represented North Carolina as delegates during the ratification of the U.S. Constitution and fought in the Civil War, Spanish-American War and WWI. “Major” Huske opened the large, full service hardware store in Fayetteville around the turn of the century, which was converted to a brewery and restaurant in 1998.
Loop Brewing Co, McCook, Nebraska
– in a Warehouse
Loop Brewery transformed one of McCook’s oldest buildings – roughly 100 years old – from a warehouse into a brewery. However, Loop’s website notes the building’s original purpose was housing ice for the residents of McCook and keeping “perishables and great tasting beer cold to and from Chicago.”
Mission Brewery, San Diego, California
– in the Wonder Bread Building
In addition to reviving the name of a local brewery that went defunct during Prohibition, they are located in the historic Wonder Bread building that was, according to their website, “built in 1894 and has the architectural bones of the original design with wood work that cannot be duplicated today.”
Phantom Canyon Brewing Company, Colorado Springs, Colorado
– in a Former Hotel
Phantom Canyon is located in the historic Cheyenne Hotel, built in 1901, and named after both the Cheyenne Mountain and Chief Two Moons of the Cheyenne Indian Tribe. Nearly 25 years ago, the building was set to be demolished, but the brewery moved in, thus saving the old hotel and a piece of history.