Those entering the Broadway Brew Supply at 4391 S. Broadway in Englewood see a vast array of the equipment and ingredients needed to brew beer, wine, cider and other beverages.
There are cases of bottles waiting to be filled, lines of shiny brewing equipment awaiting new owners, bins of ingredients to brew the beverage of choice and a store owner ready and willing to help.
“A lot of things fell into place that allowed me to open this store in January,” said Jose Quinones, store owner and manager. “I was a customer and occasionally helped out the brew supply store that was in this location. They decided to close. I was leaving my former employment so I was able to sign a lease for the space and now I really like providing customers what they need to be brewers.”
The popularity of craft beers has, to an extent, helped his business, he said.
“There has long been a high level of interest in home-brewing,” he said. “At least some of the explosion of craft breweries grew out of home-brewers who decided to go start craft breweries. There is also the opposite effect on our business because when there is more good beer commercially available and unemployment is down, there is less interest in home-brewing.”
Quinones said about 80 percent of his business comes from return customers.
“Getting started requires the equipment purchase. After, the individual just has to buy the supplies to make the brew,” he said. “It costs a first-time customer between $85 to $120 to buy the basic equipment and a kit that contains barley malt, hops and yeast to brew beer. It is up to the brewer to supply the water.”
The “grain-to-glass” time is 30 to 45 days, which breaks down to about a week to brew beer, and then allowing the beer to age in the bottles for three to four weeks. Then the brew is ready to drink. A five-gallon batch of beer yields about 53 12-ounce bottles of beer.
His is a beer-focused store but he also carries equipment, ingredients and kits to make beverages like wine, mead and cider, Quinones said.
His store has become a gathering place.
“We have set up a community of home-brewers out of the store,” he said. “We have a social club that meets here that is a way to attract seasoned as well as new brewers. We also offer classes teaching a variety of brewing. We offer beer-brewing classes twice a month. The class is held on Sunday and classes are two to five hours long, depending on the subject.”
Zander Kayyali was buying ingredients to brew his next batch of beer.
“One of my friends and his dad brewed beers and I brewed beer with them a few times. Then I decided to brew on my own so I came to this store, bought my equipment and ingredients and started brewing beer,” he said. “I have been brewing my own beer for about a year. I brew for myself so I haven't had to buy beer for all that time. Brewing beer is my hobby. My family and friends love my hobby and are happy he to help me drink my beer.”
Frann Beg also came into the store for supplies.
“A lot of my friends are in the brewing industry, I got interested in brewing my own beer because beer makes people happy, so I started brewing my beer about two months ago,” he said. “Brewing is a lot of fun but it is also a lot of work. You spend a lot of time cleaning because you have to make sure everything used in the brewing process is properly cleaned and sterilized. I would say when you make a batch of beer 20 percent of your time is spent brewing and 80 percent of your time cleaning. Making beer is rewarding because when the batch is completed you see and get to drink the fruits of your labor.”
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