CROWN POINT │ Crown Brewing will celebrate its fifth anniversary today with a celebration that includes free tours of its new “Beer Vault,” live music and a tapping of a special anniversary brew.
Crown Brewing owners Dave Bryan, Tim Walsh and Chris Stanek find it hard to believe that just five years ago their building at 211 S. East St. was vacant and is now a vibrant part of downtown Crown Point.
Bryan said they’ve surpassed their goal of just wanting to simply be in business after five years and are ready for another production expansion.
“Business has been phenomenal,” Bryan said.
The brewery recently began using the cellar of the nearby former Lake County Title building as a space for barrel aging.
“This will allow us to do a wider variety of different beers and really kind of ramp-up the barrel aging program,” Stanek said.
The massive cellar once served as the fallout shelter for the city during the Cold War with the former Soviet Union of the '50s and '60s.
“The temperature stays very consistent throughout the year,” Stanek said. “Look out for a lot of unique and experimental beers from our new beer vault.”
Brewmaster Steve Mazylewski joined the brewery shortly after it opened. Crown Brewing has since won several dozen awards for its beer including a Gold Award for Crown Brown and a Bronze Award for its Industrial Porter in the World Beer Cup.
Crown Brewing has brewed more than 75 different beers since opening its doors.
“It’s almost a mini-milestone,” said Mazylewski on the anniversary. “We’ve passed the scary part of start-up and it means we’re established. It solidifies the fact that we are here, we’re doing it. We’re not the new kids on the block, anymore. So that’s pretty exciting.”
Crown Brewing has been tapping beers outside its building as well, including several city festivals, events at Fair Oaks Farms and its annual beer festival at the Lake County Fairgrounds. In May, the brewery hosted its fourth festival and drew more than 1,700 people and 30 breweries. The fest raised nearly $4,000 for charity.
“The more successful we’ve been throughout the years we’ve been able to give a lot back to the community,” Stanek said.
Today's celebration will begin with music at 6 p.m. by The Barleywine Sound Union, although Stanek said “we’ll probably be celebrating all day.”
Visitors will also enjoy the brewery’s newly expanded patio section and “free beer schwag.”
The brewery also will tap a special fifth anniversary beer for the event.
“We’re very appreciative (of) our staff and customers,” Bryan said. “Without them we wouldn’t be celebrating our fifth year.”