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BLOOMINGTON — The owners of a proposed microbrewery in Bloomington plan to open next spring, but some neighbors are opposed to the plan and will bring their concerns next month to the Bloomington City Council.

Jeff Mroz and Mike Hoff have received the go-ahead from the Bloomington Liquor Commission for the Keg Grove Brewing Company, to be located at Constitution Place at 712 E. Empire St. 

“We are very community-focused and community-centralized,” Mroz said. “We want to be an active part of the community and be located in the heart of Bloomington.”

The brewery will produce its own beer and will not sell any other products. Beers will sell for about $5, he said. There will be no food sold on location.

Mroz, an elemementary teacher and college level educator, has been home brewing for more than five years. Hoff has worked as a landscape designer for more than 10 years and started home brewing about three years ago after meeting Mroz.

But some neighbors of the nearby historic White Place neighborhood voiced objections to the plan at a Liquor Commission meeting on Tuesday.

Kate Mueninghoff said her property would be six feet from the proposed microbrewery and she has concerns about foot traffic, noise, alcohol issues and decreased property values.

“This home has been in the family for 62 years,” she said, “and because of this, we may have to move. Please don’t put a bar in my backyard.”

Keith Brotheridge, also a White Place resident, said he had concerns about increased traffic in the neighborhood. The location also is near Constitution Trail.

“I have yet to hear about what assets this will bring to the neighborhood,” he said. “What will bring that is positive to the area? This is a brewery.”

Eric Rankin, a McLean County board member, spoke in favor of the proposed plan.

“I understand the nature of moving a business near an existing residential area,” he said. “I have toured the facility and the changes that they are making to the facility will make it friendly to the neighborhood. They have engaged the neighborhood, talked individually and reached out to the people in the neighborhood and tried to meet their concerns. Their business plan has reflected that they care about the community and want to be a partner in this area.”

Mroz said that the production of all beer will be done during normal business hours. The owners also will work with food truck companies and other partners to ensure there is no impact on area residents.

“We care and I understand that we are disappointing some people,” Mroz said. “But we want to work with them and prove we can be good for the area.”

The commission approved the license with several conditions, including that there would be no gaming devices or wine produced at the location.

The council will consider the matter on Oct. 9.

Follow Kevin Barlow on Twitter: @pg_barlow


Agriculture Reporter

Agriculture reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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