Owners Eric & Carrie Schmidt have brought a new craft beer retail concept to Downtown Downers Grove. Orange & Brew Bottle Shop and Tap Room serves guests through an approachable draft beer list to enjoy in a comfortable and laid-back setting, as well as bottles and cans to take home.
“This concept has been around for several years in Chicago and in other states,” says Eric Schmidt. “But they haven’t been as prevalent in the Chicagoland suburbs. We’re bringing the ‘brewery’ atmosphere to our guests by showcasing several breweries as well as educating those who may not be as familiar with what ‘craft’ beer is.”
With seating for 40 guests with an exposed-brick interior, Orange & Brew also features small pre-packaged food. But guests are encouraged to bring carry-out food from their favorite local restaurants or have meals delivered. The goal is to support as much local as possible, according to Carrie Schmidt.
“We want to focus on Chicagoland breweries as well as Downers Grove restaurants,” Carrie says. “There are so many new breweries opening all over and not enough time to visit all of them. While all of our offerings won’t be from immediate local breweries, we certainly want to focus on awareness and excitement for the Chicagoland brewing scene and allow guests to try offerings from a handful of places each visit.”
Eric and Carrie met as students at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, so “Orange & Brew” is a personal nod to their time donning the “Orange and Blue”. Both were student bar employees as undergrads, and Eric forged his appreciation of craft beer as a home brewer. But opening a “bar” was always something that interested Eric and Carrie. A move to the southwest suburbs was the spark that they needed to begin the concept known as “Orange & Brew”.
“For a beer geek like myself, there simply wasn’t a convenient spot to try new draft beers as well as have an amazing selection of fresh beer to take home,” Eric says. “The timing was good to apply my knowledge and passion into this project.”
With jobs in the not-for-profit and journalism sectors, the concept was slow to evolve. But in the fall of 2017, with a business plan in hand, Carrie and Eric settled on Downers Grove as a draw not only for “beer geeks” looking for a convenient spot to purchase fresh beer, but also for local residents to have a fun place to relax and learn more about craft beers. And in the winter of 2018, the concept finally came to life!
About Orange & Brew – Located at 1027 Burlington Avenue in Downers Grove, Orange & Brew offers eight rotating draft beers and a curated selection of craft beer bottles and cans, ciders, and wine by the glass, all to enjoy on-site. There are also nearly 250 beers and ciders to take home, constantly changing with current brewery offerings and seasons. The space offers comfortable seating for 40 and allows guests to bring their own food in or enjoy pre-packaged items. Orange & Brew also does events such as educational tastings, meet-the-brewer opportunities, and more. To learn more about orange and brew, visit their Facebook page at www.fb.com/orangeandbrewbottleshop or by visiting their website at www.orangeandbrewbottleshop.com.