Chicago's craft breweries drying up due to COVID-19 pandemic

It survived prohibition, but a Logan Square tavern will not survive coronavirus.

Crown Liquors on North Milwaukee is closed due to Governor JB Pritzker's stay-at-home order. The owners say they will not be re-opening.

It has been one of the fastest growing business success stories in recent years, but now many small craft breweries are in danger of going down the drain.

There are more than 230 craft breweries in the Chicago area employing thousands of people, and now there is a crowdfunding effort to keep the beer flowing.

With all the stress surrounding the coronavirus, a cold craft beer would sure taste good right now. But many small breweries and craft beer stores are worried about surviving the pandemic themselves.

"You gotta take it day by day and figure out the best way to get your product out there, get it into people’s hands,” said Brandon Banbury of Hailstorm Brewing.

Already there are casualties. Argus Brewing in Chicago's Pullman neighborhood announced this week it is closing after 10 years.

"Our business literally dried up due to the closing of all the restaurants and bars,” said owner Bob Jensen. "That was 80% of our income and without it, there's just no way we could survive."

Which is why five craft breweries and beer stores in Tinley Park and Mokena have begun a crowdfunding campaign called "Support Each Other" -- raising thousands of dollars through online T-shirt sales that will help to keep those businesses open.

"We wanted to do something to make sure all five of us are around after all of this,” said Patrick Busch of The Open Bottle.

"The extra financial help will help with some of our employees or our day-to-day operations,” said Kyle Obright of Brothership Brewing.

Stores and breweries are getting creative, using online sales, delivery and curbside pick up to keep the beer flowing.

"The goal is that when we do have some relief and these shut down restrictions are lifted, that there are going to be breweries that can re-employ people and consumers can go back to,” said Danielle D'Allesandro of the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild.