News Lagunitas Closes Chicago Brewery and Taproom – Moves All Brewing to California

It was a big announcement back in 2014. Tony McGee, founder of Lagunitas Brewing in Petaluma, CA was about to open a new, 300,000 bbl per year brewery in Chicago. Fast forward 10 years and Heineken, the current owner of Lagunitas has announced that they are closing the Lagunitas Taproom, the last remnants of McGee’s grand vision.

Like other large craft brewers during the time such as Sierra Nevada, Stone, Green Flash and New Belgium, opening a brewery on the east side of the country represented the pioneering spirit of the fast-growing industry. Just one year after opening the Chicago brewery, Heineken bought a 50% stake in Lagunitas. Two years later, they purchased the remaining 50% becoming sole owners.

The closure will occur on August 1st and will impact 86 workers, according to a press release. Some of those employees will move to work at the California facility and some will work remotely.

When the $26 million brewery opened in 2014 the company was brewing about 500,000 bbs per year. The plan at the time was to open a third brewery somewhere in the Eastern US but talks with Heineken must have started soon after and derailed that plan.

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