They raised a glass in celebration at Goose Island Beer Co.'s pioneering North Side brew pub Tuesday night: the well-known spot isn't going to close.
John Hall, Goose Island's founder and chief executive, said he reached a last-minute deal with the pub's landlord to stay at 1800 N. Clybourn Ave. for three to five years, averting the closing of the homebase for Honker's Ale and other brews at the end of 2008.
"I'm thrilled," said Hall, who bought everyone in the place a beer. "They called me last week and said we want to try to do a deal. We compromised in a week on something we couldn't do for a long time."
Hall said he couldn't talk for the other side but he indicated the weak real estate market may have helped get the agreement done. In April, Hall said that the landlord, CRM Properties Group, had asked for a significant rent increase, reflecting the popularity of the trendy neighborhood.
Goose Island was part of a pioneering redevelopment in the North and Clybourn Avenues area. In the mid- to late 1980s, an old Turtle Wax factory into an upscale retail mall. Today, Clybourn Square is surrounded by one of Chicago's hottest retail regions, but the entire economy is now in duress.
Goose Island, which also makes 312 and other brews, was founded as a brew pub in 1988 at the site. The venture was a success and Goose Island built a stand-alone brewery at 1800 W. Fulton St. in 1995. Since then, the company has focused on retail beer sales, though it has continued to operate two brew pubs.
"We've been in the business for 20 years and a lot of things have changed," Hall said. "We couldn't be more pleased about reaching an agreement."