Bryan Schubert first tried his hand at homebrewing with a couple of guys at one of their houses about 12 years ago.
"I just instantly fell in love with it," he says.
About two years after that, after homebrewing a few times with his brother-in-law, Schubert went out and bought his own homebrewing equipment. Now, 10 years and a lot of beer later, Schubert and his wife, Lizzy, have opened Millpond Brewing & Incubator in Millstadt, Illinois.
Schubert wrote his first business plan four years ago but was not actively looking to start the brewery just yet. But when he lost his job at a marketing agency in August, Lizzy told him it was the sign for him to do it. And then, at the same time, Schubert's dream space went on the market.
"It was kind of the place, growing up in Millstadt, I always said if I wanted to open up a brewery, it needs to be in that building," Schubert says. "It became available at the same time."
With a laugh, he adds that it's often the craziest stories that are the true ones.
Millpond Brewing & Incubator features a five-barrel brewing system with a taproom that seats about 99 people and a beer garden that seats an additional 60 to 70. The brewery currently offers nine beers of its own beers on tap, though it might be the "incubator brews" that catch your eye.
"We're going to allow homebrewers to come in, brew their beer and then put their beer on tap to the public," Schubert says.
An idea developed with his brother-in-law years ago, the incubator allows homebrewers to brew their own recipe at Millpond and have it served in the taproom. Schubert says the goal is twofold: to give those brewers the opportunity to brew their beer commercially and to use the taproom at Millpond as a test market.
The first incubator brew is a Munich Helles from Joe Orsa and Dave Roesch, who are said to be the "original Millstadt homebrewers" – in fact, they're the two guys Schubert went and brewed with for the first time 12 years ago.
"It was just kind of natural that when we opened, I wanted to make sure that we had one of their recipes on tap, knowing that's kind of where all this really started," Schubert says.
There is no formal application process yet for applying to brew a beer at Millpond Brewing, but for now, those interested can each out at email@example.com.
"The goal is to hopefully identify individuals like myself four years ago, who was really aspiring to open up a brewery, or homebrewers who have a dream of having their beer on tap in a taproom," Schubert says. "Have them come in, be able to brew their beer, test market it to the individuals who come through our taproom, and learn a little bit more about what it's like to open up a brewery."
Editor's Note: This post has been updated with additional information from Bryan Schubert and to correct the spelling of Dave Roesch's name.
Millpond Brewing & Incubator, 308 E. Washington, Millstadt, Illinois, 618.476.9933, millpondbrewing.com