Year in Review 2019

What attracted me to Alter when I started back in January of 2019 was the foundation of how good the beer is and how passionate these people are — and with that kind of foundation, we can accomplish anything! Almost a year later as I reflect on our challenges and achievements, I couldn’t be more confident in the fundamentals of my initial attraction. More importantly, I’ve also realized how amazing the support of Alter’s family, friends, guests, and fans truly is. I mean, WOW! The pride our community has in what we’re doing is remarkable. With that support I feel a prideful obligation to share with you some 2019 highlights as well as a peek into 2020 for no other reason than you deserve to be in the know.

Without geeking out on company objectives too much, in 2019 Alter had three overarching goals for the organization: strengthen Team Alter, deliver amazing hospitality experiences, and make great frickin beer. If you’ve spent time with us in 2019 you know we’re hitting the marks.

I love Team Alter. In addition to the many new, friendly faces in our taproom we’ve added some key full-time members. Matt McCowan (Head Brewer) came on board in January 2019 and is bringing an incredibly high level of professional brewing expertise, innovation, and quality assurance to our operation. Mallory Schmedeke (Event Coordinator) joined us in May 2019 and is delivering a client experience in our barrel room that is second to none, and Bart Vivian (Director of Hospitality), since joining us in October of 2019, is raising our taproom execution levels to new highs as he prepares to open Alter Brewing + Kitchen in St. Charles (more on that later). These additions coupled with the existing team position us extremely well moving into next year!

What a fun year we’ve had seeing our family, friends, guests and fans in the tap room and around the community. Our tap room business is up over 2018 and I can’t thank you enough for your support. I promise, new and more comfortable chairs and barstools are coming soon! In addition to more comfortable seats, we’re proud to also return that support by donating thousands of dollars, hundreds of hours, and A LOT of beer to local organizations in need, highlighted by our title sponsorship of Rotary Grove Fest. What a great event benefitting so many. Without question, however, the highlight of the year for me was Alter Fest. The clouds parted, the bands played, and a fantastic celebration of beer and community ensued. We’re already planning 2020’s Alter Fest, so save the date for September 26th.

Which brings me to the beer…and it’s never tasted better! How many 3000BBL breweries do you know with their own lab putting every batch of beer made under a microscope? Well, you know of at least one…Alter Brewing. The beer coming out of our brewery this year was outstanding and your taproom support gives us the analytic to understand what beers to bring back and put into full production. Reformulated Hell Hazed Over NE Style IPA is now a full production beer available at retail in cans. Swedda Wedda Oatmeal Stout was a resounding success which you will see again seasonally. You will also see Heavy Squeeze Lemon Tart Ale in cans this spring, and of course Bleacher Seat to align with baseball season. I also look forward to seeing unprecedented innovation in 2020…especially during and after our St. Charles location opening.

So allow me to segue to Alter Brewing + Kitchen – St. Charles. As many of you are aware, we’re opening a full-service restaurant and brewery in St. Charles in mid spring 2020. The setting is stunning. Situated along the west bank of the Fox River immediately south of Main St. (Rte. 64) we are building a 260-seat restaurant & brewing facility which includes a 100-seat riverside patio. A smaller brewing footprint will allow our innovation team to really spread their wings. Some St. Charles beer will come to Downers Grove and some Downers Grove beer will go to St. Charles. Our final Chef candidates are preparing tastings this week and the menu will soon be in full development. With so much to share on this project, and an 800 word limit on this letter, please visit our newly designed website to see updated renderings, construction photos and opening details as they develop.

Lastly, and most importantly, THANK YOU family, friends, guests, and fans of Alter. Without your support we couldn’t do what we love, which is bringing people together to celebrate all the things in life worth celebrating. So, raise a glass with me. Here’s to you, your support, a healthy and successful 2020, and delicious beer!


Ken Henricks
President, Alter Brewing
[email protected]