Proud to be an Independent Craft Brewery in the State of Illinois

It is just about impossible to read or listen to a news blog, pick up a newspaper, or talk to friends and neighbors without the subject of Illinois coming up. “Illinois, Chicago, and Springfield are so corrupt,” “Illinois is bankrupt,” “Illinois is losing business and people by the thousands,” “Illinois taxes are insane,” “Illinois is too damn cold,” “Illinois is all farms and boring,” “Madigan is the devil,” “Rauner is a heartless vampire squid,” “The Bears suck” … and the list goes on. While there is a lot of truth to the above moaning, I believe it is time to start thinking positively about where we are, who we are, and what we want to achieve in the state of Illinois.

“My first day on the job… I knew I was home.”

I grew up with my Grandparents in a nice Northern suburb of Detroit, Michigan. The family tool and die business went bankrupt in 1980 when interest rates hit 15%+. Detroit had long lost its luster as a great city by then, but what didn’t change, and is still true today, is that Michiganders (or Michiganians) hold in their hearts a deep sense of state pride. Not so much in Illinois.

I moved from Michigan to Chicago right after college, a hundred million years ago, because of a job opportunity and city that I fell in love with the first time I visited. My first day on the job as an accountant (yeah boring right!) walking down the LaSalle Street in my new olive-green suit (since burned), I knew I was home. 26 Years later, a career as a derivatives trader on the world’s greatest exchanges, 12 years living near Wrigley Field, 14 years living in the western suburbs, a beautiful wife, three healthy happy daughters, fulfilling a personal dream of starting a business in a craft that means something more than just a bottom line …  and I still feel like Chicago, Illinois is my home. Granted I almost moved to Colorado 50 times because that state is just plain awesome, but, really, Illinois is home because this is where my life has unfolded.

“…people come together because a brewery is community first and foremost.”

Don’t get me wrong, I bitch about taxes, and Madigan, and government overreach, blah blah blah. But, I’m not going anywhere. The residents who leave Illinois (33,700 net loss of Illinois residents from July of 2016 to July 2017) leave for many reasons and most of those reasons are valid for them. But, maybe they are leaving before a great resurgence in the state. If that is going to happen it will be because of businesses like independent craft breweries. Businesses that provide jobs and create brands that locals can rally around and call their own. Tap rooms that become a town meeting place, not a drinking hole, but a place where lawyers, car mechanics, liberals, conservatives, and everyone in between and outside of those monikers can come and have a beer and discuss hops, IPAs, barrel aged beers, or maybe they talk about the ’85 Bears (BTW, no one in Detroit ever talks about the ’57 Lions … ever!). Regardless, people come together because a brewery is community first and foremost.

In a state that has given us Abraham Lincoln, Michael Jordan, Jon Malkovich, Twinkies, McDonalds, Ronald Reagan, Ferris Buehler and Cheap Trick (in no particular order of importance and yeah a few of those examples are suspect), we should all stand up and be proud, proud of Illinois. After all, Illinois was the first state to ratify the 13th Amendment and I don’t think that it is coincidence that Illinois is the 21st state admitted to the union and the 21st Amendment ended prohibition.

We should be proud of our state because it is our home. Happy 200-year anniversary Illinois! Alter Brewing Company plans on brewing the best beer we can and bringing people together in this great community for another 100. Alright I’m done, I have to go pay the new local food & beverage tax that kicked in the beginning of this month in Downers Grove.

David Yob – President & Co-Founder

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