A nano brewery, Knack Brewing & Fermentation, is slated to open on Kankakee’s west side by May or June by a Bourbonnais couple.
Matt and Emily Strysik of Bourbonnais will open an eventual 4-barrel-per week brewpub at 789 S. McMullen Ave.
The approximate 700-square-foot pub, located not far from the banks of the Kankakee River, will have seating for about 40 for the first-time small business owners. Final details have not been carved in stone, but the brewery will be open from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday and noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
In summer months, there will be outdoor seating.
Matt said they are also considering curbside beverage pickup service.
Prior to the location being operated as this brewery, it had been the home of Cellar Graphics. The property is owned by Glade Plumbing & Heating.
“It’s a nano brewery. It’s real, real small,” Matt explained.
The couple explained the brewery will eventually produce up to four barrels of lager a week. A barrel of beer is 31 gallons. A keg is 15.5 gallons.
A lager is a beer which tastes light and a little malty.
They will likely start the business as a 1-barrel per week brewpub. As the customer base grows, so will beer production.
A nano brewery is defined as a brewery or brewpub which produces less than 15,000 barrels of beer on an annual basis.
The Kankakee City Council recently approved the needed conditional use permit to operate a microbrewery in the commercially zoned district.
Matt explained he has been producing beer for about 10 years, with varying degrees of success. He then decided to get serious about the art of brewing after visiting numerous breweries. He then took a course in beer brewing and he was amazed at the taste of his beverage.
A business account executive with Verizon Wireless, a 2006 graduate of Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School and a 2012 graduate of Governors State University where he earned a business administration degree, he then set out to open his own brewpub.
The COVID-19 pandemic put the brakes on plans Matt and Emily had set in motion. He is hoping that when he is ready to welcome guests, people will feel much more at ease about gathering.
A native of Orange County, Calif., the 32-year-old Matt said the 4th Ward property was the first they had explored for their brewpub. They looked at a couple others before returning to the McMullen location.
He is hoping this venture turns into much more than a weekend venture. If all goes as planned, he would like brewing beer and operating a brewpub to be a full-time commitment.
He envisions the brewpub being a gathering point. He plans people gathering around beer, music and conversation.
“There will be no TV,” he said.