Want to drink a perfectly-poured pint of Guinness? In the past, that meant taking a trip to Dublin or the Open Gate Brewery and Barrel House that was opened in Baltimore in 2018. Today, Guinness announced plans to open its second U.S. taproom and brewery in Chicago, taking over a former railroad depot in the booming West Loop neighborhood.
Currently slated to open sometime in 2023 (in an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Diageo Beer Company chief marketing offer Jay Sethi stated "hopefully in time for St. Patrick’s Day"), the Guinness taproom will be located inside a 15,000-square-foot space at 375 N Morgan Street. Outfitted with a 10 barrel brewing system, the taproom will produce a variety of small-batch and experimental beers that will only be available in Chicago. The brewery won't be producing Guinness' well-known stouts—those will be imported from the brand's St. James’s Gate in Dublin.
Guests will be able to order Irish pub fare to enjoy with their beers, though eating and drinking won't be the only attractions at the new taproom. Guinness will also offer tours of the brewing facilities, where attendees will be able to learn more about how beer is produced while exploring the history of the Irish brand. You'll also be able to pick up exclusive Guinness merch at an in-house gift shop.
Of course, Guinness isn't the first major brewery to attempt to establish a taproom in the West Loop. San Diego-based Ballast Point Brewing Company (then owned by Constellation Brands) debuted a taproom and kitchen in the West Loop in 2018, where guests could sample small-batch beers brewed in-house alongside a menu of bar-friendly food. The taproom closed in March at the onset of the pandemic and announced its permanent closure earlier this year—its former home at 212 N Green Street is still vacant.
Opening a Guinness taproom in Chicago makes sense when you consider the city's strong Irish roots (not to mention its over-the-top St. Patrick's Day celebrations). But Guinness will have to compete with Chicago's best local breweries and taprooms—and that may end up being a tall order.