Lagunitas Brewing announces the closure of its Chicago brewery

People taking a tour of the Lagunitas Brewing facility in Chicago.
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A decade after opening the Chicago facility, all production will soon return to Petaluma, California

Back in 2014, the world looked a lot different. When Tony McGee, founder of Lagunitas Brewing, announced that the company was about to open a new brewery in Chicago capable of producing 300,000 barrels per year, it didn’t seem too far-fetched.

Back in those days, other breweries were opening second locations to service the nation’s eastern region: Sierra Nevada, Stone, Green Flash, and New Belgium all expanded eastward at roughly the same time. Times have changed and earlier this week Heineken, the owner of Lagunitas Brewing, announced that it will close its Chicago brewery effective August 1st. All production will return to the Lagunitas Brewing facility in Petaluma, California.

The closure impacts 86 employees. In a press release, the company said some employees will retain their remote roles or have the opportunity to relocate to Petaluma. The remaining employees will “receive retention incentives to work through the transition as well as departure packages, including support services and job-placement assistance.”

According to the press release the closure is because of “a need to future-proof the organization amid changing tides in the craft beverage industry.” The press release added that returning all production to Petaluma “will allow for a more efficient and flexible supply chain” and a “greater focus on innovation and the acceleration of more sustainable brewing practices.”


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LAGUNITAS BREWING TIMELINE:
1993 – Tony MaGee starts brewing and Lagunitas is born.
2014 – Lagunitas opens its $26 million brewery in Chicago. At that time, the company was brewing about 500,000 barrels per year.
2015 – Heineken buys a 50 percent stake in Lagunitas Brewing.
2016 – Lagunitas opens a taproom, a community space, in Portland focused on serving the needs of local non-profits.
2017 – Heineken buys the other 50 percent of Lagunitas.
2017 – Lagunitas opens a brewery and taproom in Seattle.
2019 – The Portland location is closed.
2023 – In January, Lagunitas closes its Seattle location.
2024 – Heineken announces the pending closure of the Chicago brewery. All production will return to Petaluma.

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