MACHESNEY PARK — Couples planning a late 2019 wedding reception may want to consider Pig Minds Brewing Co. as a venue.
Construction began last week on a more than $2 million, 7,800-square-foot addition on the north end of the popular 4080 Steele Dr. vegan eatery and brewery, said owner Brian Endl.
Endl said that by next summer he hopes to have a new outdoor patio — five times the size of the current one, with room for 200 patrons and space for live music. A 30-barrel brewing system and equipment to can the beer will be in place, too.
Endl produces about 1,500 barrels of beer a year now. He expects to initially increase production by about 5,000 barrels in the first year after construction is complete, though the expansion will allow him to produce about 15,000 barrels a year.
A new tap room for events, along with a second commercial kitchen, should be completed by fall. With new seating and parking space, the brewery will more than double its indoor seating capacity.
Endl first announced the expansion in 2016, but the Federal Emergency Management Agency said a large portion of where he wanted to expand was to be placed in a flood zone.
Endl worked with a civil engineer and village staff to navigate through FEMA’s roadblocks and advance the expansion.
“Pig Minds Brewery is a regional attraction and therefore a destination in Machesney Park,” said James Richter II, Machesney Park’s community development director, in an email. “The village is excited that Pig Minds is expanding their presence in Machesney Park.”
Endl said he remembers opening his brewery in 2012. Critics insulted him for serving vegan dishes to complement his beer. Now, he’s finally able to expand and able to consider widening his regional distribution network.
“We’ve had a lot of support,” Endl said. “We’re different. We’ve created a destination for people.”
Endl said the expansion should boost his payroll by about 10 employees. He now employs about 20.
Susan Vela: 815-987-1392; email@example.com; @susanvela