New Nano brewery to open downtown

Brock A. Stein | 7/12/2017, 3:04 p.m.
When it opens in the coming months, Elder Brewing Co. on Cass Street will be Joliet's first "nano" brewery.
Photo: Elder Brewing Co. owners Melissa and Andrew Polykandriotis say that their Cass St. location will be Joliet’s first “nano” brewery when it opens in the former JCM Uniforms location in the coming months. (by Brock A. Stein) Photo by Brock A. Stein

Fledgling microbrewers Melissa and Andrew Polykandriotis wanted to stress their family’s roots in the community when they were settling on a name for their new establishment on E Cass Street.

Elder Brewing Co., the name they ultimately chose for their in-the-works “Nano” Brewery emphasizes those ties as well as a connection to nature said Melissa. Her husband started home brewing small batches of beer a few years ago and decided in 2015 that he wanted to do it full time.

“He really enjoys being able to be creative with different recipes,” said Melissa, adding “He really enjoys people trying his beer and forming that bond with people.”

The couple set about sprucing up a space at 218 E. Cass Street for a small tasting room and a second floor brewery in 2015 doing most of the work themselves while also working their full time jobs. The building is owned by Andrew’s grandfather and was the former site of JCM Uniforms which now sits across the street. She said that they liked the building and its off-the-beaten path location which will offer a “different type of experience.”

“The space is really cool,” said Melissa.

The work has been slow going she added but has accelerated in recent months after hiring contractors to take the project through the home stretch.

Once completed the venue will include a 1,000 square foot tap and tasting room on the first floor. The business won’t serve food but may feature menu items from food trucks or allow patrons to bring their own things to nosh.

“While several microbreweries have popped up around Will County in recent years, Elder Brewing with its 3-barrel brewing system technically makes it a “Nano” brewery,” said Melissa.

She’s reluctant to give a time table for when the new brewery will open—the couple thought they would be open last year—but said that with contractors working it could be in the next couple of months.

Once open, “people will be able to sample some of their specialty brews including a blonde ale and cream ale, which wins over the most discerning tastes even, people that don’t normally drink craft beer would enjoy.”