Whole Foods Market Green Bay Road, opening July 29 in Evanston, Illinois, will feature an exclusive beer brewed by an up-and-coming Sketchbook Brewing Company located in Evanston. Made from organic malts and hops locally sourced from farms in Wisconsin and Michigan, the B.I.O. Pale Ale will be the first collaborative brew between Whole Foods Market and Sketchbook Brewing.
“This collaboration allows us to combine two things we love: beer and supporting local businesses. We can’t wait to share this exclusive brew from Sketchbook Brewing with friends and neighbors, ” says Mike Kilgore, Whole Foods Market Midwest’s Associate Coordinator for store bar venues. “We’ve partnered with local brewers for the last six stores we’ve opened in the Chicago area and are always excited to see what new beers the brew masters create.”
For all seven new Whole Foods Market stores in the Chicagoland area, Kilgore collaborated with Chicago’s Begyle Brewing Company to create exclusive beers for those store’s bar venues. With this success, Kilgore began looking for other breweries for future stores.
“We have 20 drafts on tap at the new Whole Foods Market Green Bay Road and we wanted to offer our Evanston shoppers access to one of the great beers coming out of their hometown,” says Kilgore.
The new location will carry other brews from Sketchbook Brewing; however, the custom brew will only be offered at the Evanston Green Bay Road location, eventually expanding into other Whole Foods Market locations in Chicago.
Whole Foods Market bars, featuring local beers on tap, are becoming a favorite watering hole for customers. Kilgore and his team seek to provide quality beers through partnerships with local breweries.
“Creating a special beer for each of the six new Whole Foods Market stores has been a fun challenge for us,” says Brendan Blume, co-owner of Begyle Brewing Company. “We got to play around with our pale ale recipe and try different techniques to create unique flavors for each of the stores. This partnership has expanded our footprint, providing us access to a new audience to try out custom blends and given us a steady income that is so important to a new business. We couldn’t think of a better partner and are exited to share the new and creative brews coming out of Begyle Brewing with the Whole Foods Market community.”
In addition to collaborating with Sketchbook Brewing and Begyle Brewing, Kilgore and his team have partnered with Temperance Beer Company and FEW Spirits, both based in Evanston, since they began distribution. They are also working with Revolution Brewery to create beers from barrel-aged whiskey and sour cherries from Michigan.
Whole Foods Market Green Bay Road opens Wednesday, July 29. A grand opening ceremony begins at 8:45 a.m., doors open for shopping at 9 a.m.