Chicago brewery launches brewers onto store shelves

It can cost millions of dollars for brewers to produce and launch their products from their garage onto store shelves.

However, a new brewery in Logan Square is making it possible without the huge financial risk.


"You shouldn't have to worry about building a brewery just to market test your product," said Dan Abel, the co-founder of Pilot Project Brewery.

Abel considers the brewery a recording studio for brewers.

As a former musician, Abel says you wouldn’t build your own music recording studio to launch a music career, and likewise, brewers shouldn’t have to spend millions on kettles and staff to brew beer.

"For us in the industry it's really tough to scale up from an idea in a garage to something that's commercial. So having the opportunity to work with Pilot Project is really a blessing for us," said brewer Bhavik Modi.

In November, Modi started producing his Indian-inspired beer, AZADI, at Pilot Project. The beer is now sold at Indian restaurants across the Chicagoland area, as Modi continues to develop new brews under the label.

The backroom of Pilot Project is dedicated to making various beers. The brewery has a staff to produce the recipes provided by the brewers.

In front, there is an airy taproom and a patio with umbrellas and picnic tables. During the week, individuals and teams use the space for co-working as they sip what’s on tap.

Patrons also give the brewers feedback.

"The feedback we receive has been amazing and it's instrumental in really shaping our next group of releases," said Modi.

In two years, Pilot Project has brewed 200 unique products from beers to hard cider and seltzer to Kombucha from 12 different breweries. They have launched ten permanently onto store shelves.

"We are distributing all our brands to major retailers in the city…So whether you're brewing here and on draft here, we're still featuring you out across the city," said Abel.

A portion of the sales in the tap room go to various charities. They also offer food like nachos and big, salty pretzels with cheese.

Pilot Project is located at 2140 N Milwaukee Ave in Chicago.

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