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Microbrewery seeks approval for Geneva location

GENEVA – Geneva might get its second microbrewery for tasting and packaged sales if proposed zoning text amendments and a special use are approved, officials said.

Owners of Penrose Brewing filed an application to have a microbrewery at 509 Stevens St., Geneva, in a small strip mall near Wheeler Park, a 14,000-square-foot building that has been vacant for a year, according to the application.

Stockholm’s, 306 W. State St., Geneva, is currently the sole microbrewery in the Tri-Cities.

Eric Hobbs, a Geneva resident and 1999 graduate of Geneva High School, and Tom Korder of Chicago will be running the brewery, using their experience from Goose Island Beer Company in Chicago, Hobbs said.

Korder was the innovation coordinator at Goose Island and Hobbs was in sales and marketing, he said.

“We’ve been working in this business for 10 years with Goose Island,” Hobbs said. “Tom and I are 100 percent managing this business.”

The choice to open a location in Geneva was more than the fact he considers it his hometown, Hobbs said. 

“It’s such a beautiful place,” Hobbs said. “We were always aware this is a small-business friendly community. That really aligns well with what the craft beer movement is. Opening a craft brew in Geneva would be a nice addition, instead of another restaurant.”

Hobbs said they would be brewing Belgium-inspired beers, offering eight to 10 beers in the first year.

While Korder and Hobbs will run the business, Brad Novak is listed as the petitioner and business agent for the company.

Novak said he and brothers Joe Novak of Geneva and Matt Novak of Batavia also are invested in the company, as is James Lynch of Geneva.

Text amendments are needed to define production brewing and to allow beverages produced onsite to be consumed and sold because there is no reference in one industrial district to microbreweries permitted or special use, Community Development Director Dick Untch said.

A public hearing before the Geneva Plan Commission is scheduled for 7 p.m. May 23 at City Council chambers, 22 S. First St.

City Planner David DeGroot said an error in the city’s original notice of a public hearing next week required it to be canceled and rescheduled for later in May.

“Microbreweries are a trending concept popping up all over the place,” DeGroot said. “It is not a more intense use than other industrial uses in that district. They need this special-use approval before they can apply for a building permit.”

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