BLOOMINGTON — Chad Bevers is finally ready to turn his hobby of brewing beer at his Heyworth home into a business.
After a longer-than-anticipated build-out period, Lil Beaver Brewery, 16 Currency Drive, is set to open its taproom at 4 p.m. Thursday. The east Bloomington brewery was founded by Bevers and longtime friend Dale Thomas, both from Bloomington-Normal.
"I thought about it a lot longer, but actually formulating a business plan and following it, it's been about two years," said Bevers.
Bevers began making beers as a hobby after purchasing his first home brewing kit about 14 years ago. By day, Bevers is the executive director for Midwest Food Bank in Normal.
"They are all handcrafted ales brewed by us ... from lighter beers to darker beers and everything in between," said Bevers.
Cost is from $5 to $8 per glass, depending on the beer. The brewery's hours are: 4-9 p.m. Thursdays, 4-10 p.m. Fridays and 2-10 p.m. Saturdays. It will feature 10 beers on tap.
"We will be rotating beers constantly," said Bevers. "My goal is if you come once a week there will be at least two different beers everytime you come."
Bevers said a lot of the beers he likes to brew are more extreme-flavored beers.
"One of our most favorite combinations is a chocolate coconut beer ... we have a 5 percent alcohol version called 'Little bit of wonderful' and a 13 percent alcohol version called 'Whole lotta wonderful.'"
Almost all of the beer names were made up by the business partners' young children.
"They say lots of silly stuff, and we've just been writing it down," said Bevers.
He and Thomas built the taproom themselves, with Thomas building the bar and Bever's brother-in-lawmaking the tables.
"It's a smaller space. We have 23 seats and occupancy of 45 individuals," said Bevers. "We were going for a rustic look so we used recycled pallet boards and things like that, that we sanded and stained."
When Bevers and Thomas asked the city for a code change in 2016 to allow small startup enterprises like theirs to operate outside of larger manufacturing districts, the City Council approved a change to allow small-scale production of everything from craft beers to artisan candles without forcing businesses to be in a manufacturing district.