Solemn Oath in Logan Square | Emporium Pop-Up Bar & A New Taproom
Solemn Oath Brewing, located in the large and populous Chicago suburb of Naperville, has remained a stabilizing force within the broader, changing Chicago craft beer market. Since opening in 2012, the brewery has adapted to internal and external changes without ever losing its identity, nor its popularity among beer fans; that’s what good people serving well-executed beer will do for a brewery.
Solemn Oath is now ready to take the next step in its craft beer journey by expanding to a second location and joining a slew of breweries in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood. But first, a pop-up bar is in the works.
Solemn Oath “The Void” | Emporium Arcade Pop Up Bar
A sample of Solemn Oath will arrive with its presence in the Emporium Pop-Up Bar in Logan Square from October 11 through November 3.
For that period, the bar will transform into something known as “The Void.”
Operations Manager Erin Lowder explains, “It’ll be our own version of a cyberpunk dystopia and feature a lot of neon, overgrown plants, a rejected city… that sort of vibe.” She adds, “We have Cards Against Humanity and Plant Shop Chicago, both on as partners to be involved on feature nights.”
“We’ll be releasing two collaboration beers with Emporium at the pop-up, available in both cans and on draft,” she adds.
That pop-up bar will provide a taste of what is to come, as Solemn Oath prepares to open its new, permanent spot in the area come springtime.
For more on the pop-up bar, read this entry from Erin Lowder.
Solemn Oath Taproom | Logan Square Expansion (Spring, 2019)
The expansion to Logan Square did not arrive from some five-year vision, nor was it part of some masterful long-term marketing plan.
Of course business and financial decisions must be considered, but for Solemn Oath, it’s always been about passions and dreams, and a desire to have those dreams come to fruition.
“We are always pushing boundaries,” says Lowder. In fact, the initial decision to open in Naperville pushed a boundary. At that time, fewer than 100 breweries operated in the state of Illinois and one could count on one hand the number in Chicago’s suburbs. To open a brewery at all took guts.
“John Barley our founder had the idea for this brewery.” And then Lowder adds with a smile, “He said he had no vision, but he just had the idea and knew he wanted to do it and freaking made it happen…He just had a passion for beer and wanted to do it.”
As it says on its website, Aut Viam Inveniam Aut Faciam, which means “I will either find a way or make one.”
They may have started small, but with the potential of brewing 10,000 bbl of beer soon, Solemn Oath is no longer considered a small player or an up-and-comer. Solemn Oath is an anchor in Chicago, and can safely be labeled a “name brand.”
Even as the brewery prepares for its Chicago expansion, the physical space in Naperville continues to grow, as does its production.
Like many craft breweries that opened before 2014, Solemn Oath found a location within an industrial district that allowed for production, as well as retail space. “This building has been a perfect building because we can expand. We are expanding [soon] here for another 3,000 feet, too,”
To be clear, the Solemn Oath is not changing its focus away from Naperville. Naperville will still be the brew house, the production space, and the perfect spot for beer geeks. The Logan Square Taproom addition is an enhancement to the craft brewery’s brand.
Solemn Oath | Tough to Define, Easy to Love
Solemn Oath is the embodiment of the craft brewing mantra of community, and the staff exudes humbleness, friendliness and inclusiveness.
In fact, when speaking of the increasingly crowded craft beer scene in Chicago, Lowder quickly exclaims, “It’s great. It’s a close knit community. “The more the merrier..when you look at pre-prohibition and we are not even close to those numbers. It’s all friendly competition for sure.”
And before ever stepping foot in Logan Square, Solemn Oath reached out to breweries already there, as well as those also planning to expand there. “
We will have new neighbors like Pipeworks and Middle Brow, along with old neighbors like [Revolution Brewing]. We reached out to those folks prior to expanding to make sure they were cool with it, rather than say ‘Hey surprise, we are here!”
That’s craft beer in a nutshell, isn’t it? I can’t imagine the folks at McDonalds calling the Burger King executives to make sure it’s okay to build across the street!
Indeed, along with a multitude of bars, Solemn Oath will join a host of breweries and distilleries.
- Revolution Brewing (2010)
- Chicago Distilling Company (2014)
- Hopewell Brewing (2016)
- Maplewood Brewing & Distilling (2017)
- Bixi Beer (2018)
- Middle Brow Beer (est 2019)
- Pipeworks Brewing (est 2019)
“Why Logan Square?,” you might ask.
Well, because the people that work there wanted to. That’s it. They love the area and wanted to do it.
Passion. It’s all about passion
“About half our staff reside in Chicago,” explains Lowder. “Andrew Mason director of beer ops, myself, [Head Brewer] David Kerns…we all live around there. So when we wanted to expand and grow, so Chicago was a natural step for us. We figured, Where do WE want to hang out?” “
For now, it will just be a cool hangout with Solemn Oath beer (and a few collabs). And if you know the brewery as I do, that’s all you’ll need.
The award winning beer (including Great American Beer Festival and the Festival of Barrel Aged Beers) is reason enough to visit, but as good as the beer is, there’s something refreshing about stepping into a Solemn Oath place, be it a pop-up bar, taproom or its Naperville brewhouse.
Lowder notes, “If you ask any one in the brewery, even people that work here, to explain Solemn Oath, you’ll probably get a different answer every time.”
Well, here’s my answer: Exceptional beer. Tremendous sense of community. Welcoming. Friendly. Passionate. That’s Solemn Oath.