As first reported in the Chicago Tribune, San Diego-based Brewery Ballast Point (Sculpin, Grapefruit Sculpin, Victory at Sea) will be permanently closing their satellite brewpub located in Chicago’s thriving Fulton Market.
Ballast Point is no stranger to change. Founded in 1996 by entrepreneur Jack White, the microbrew quickly grew to become one of San Diego’s largest and most popular breweries throughout the 2000s, garnering attention from beer and spirit powerhouses such as Constellation Brands, Inc. (Corona, Modelo, Svedka), who purchased the brewery for an astonishing $1 billion in 2015.
In an attempt to become a more nation-wide brand, the company started expanding by setting up satellite brew-pubs, starting with East Coast locations in 2017. They opened the aforementioned Chicago site in 2018. The new location came with high expectations and rave early reviews.
The brewery experienced its share of struggles after being acquired, and exchanged hands again in 2019, when Chicago-based Micro Brewery Kings & Convicts purchased the company from Constellation for an undisclosed amount, with a little help from some deep-pocketed investors.
Like so many other businesses, large and small, Ballast Point and specifically their Chicago brewpub have felt the cruel wrath of the COVID-19 pandemic. The location shut down for the 2020-21 winter with plans to reopen in the spring. However, after financial and strategic reevaluation, it turns out a reopening was simply not meant to be.
There is no doubt something new will find a home in the void Ballast Point is leaving behind. West Loop residents will just have to wait and see what next attraction awaits this prime location.