John Barley President
John Barley

The Time is Now

We are a brewery, but as a business we can do more. Since our debut in 2012 we’ve been striving to push the status quo, push our own creative limits, and build a culture around us that shares a similar vision. We cannot sit still. And we look to surround ourselves with artisans, supporters, and instigators that share in the comfort of this discomfort.

Our jobs are great, but, like so many of you, we still have the drive to do more. We strive to push forward and surround ourselves with inspiration and creative expression. The vision of Solemn Oath has always been built around the ideal that every idea should be challenged with a fresh voice. And if that idea continues to fight through, our end result is always stronger. Always better.

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Much More Than a Lodge

The roots of Solemn Oath stretch down Ogden Avenue to Lisle’s Bavarian Lodge. This is the place where Tim became an SOB, where Paul first gained insight into what we were doing, and probably where Erin will someday be married. When Solemn Oath was just an empty space the Bavarian Lodge crew of Alan, Tyler, and Dan came to visit. They were trying to get a feel for what we were about, to see if they should back this horse. They did.

The Bavarian Lodge was the first place to pour our beers commercially. The crew from SOB stood behind the bar a year ago in an effort to give a face to our new little brewery, show them that there was passion in each of these glasses, and make the case that our beers deserved a place alongside some of the most exquisite and rare beers available anywhere. It all began here, and that will never be forgotten.

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We Need Your Help

The Illinois Craft Brewers Guild (ICGB) is proposing two changes to the Illinois Liquor Code. These changes would allow for the continued growth of an industry that is adding jobs and bringing small businesses to cities and towns across the state. In the past three years, roughly 40 breweries and brewpubs have opened their doors. The craft beer industry in Illinois currently employs approximately 2,500 people.

Read about what’s going on here.

A brewer can receive three different types of licenses:

  • Brewer’s license – allows for the manufacturing of beer and the sale of that beer to distributors.
  • Brewpub license – considered a specialty retail license, allows the licensee to manufacture beer on premise and sell for on-site and off-site consumption at a limited volume. Also allows the licensee to sell to independent distributors. A brewpub is typically a restaurant that serves food and liquor in addition to their manufactured beer.
  • Craft brewer license – a licensed brewer who can manufacture up to 15,000 barrels (465,000 gallons) and self-distribute up to 7,500 barrels (232,500 gallons).
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Lost, Banged, & Oathed

Each day we head to Naperville to keep our brewery in operation but, like many people, our hearts are spread around. We all have our families, our hometowns, and friends that we miss–places we love where we like to think a piece of us always is.

This is true for the heart of this brewery as well. There are a ton of places we love in Chicagoland, but fewer are the places we think of as our home. About a month after we opened our doors and began to flood this region with beer, we had the privilege to grace the lines of Bangers & Lace. Like lifelong friends, our relationship with B&L has continued to flourish. Their support has been unwavering and continues to grow. When we set out to arrange the places we were going to celebrate our first anniversary, there was no doubt where our city party needed to be.

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A Greenhouse in Stockholm

This life, this world, is a collection of experiences. That has always been what draws me to beer. Its social element has forged friendships, connections, and memories that otherwise never would have been possible.

Beer welds; it creates a setting. An industry friend recently reminded me that all we’re really doing is creating experiences for people. Even the original working job title for Erin’s position was ‘Experience Manager.’ The importance of this has never been taken lightly with SOB, and for each of us here that memory is different. The following happens to be one of my favorites.

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LIKE MSNBC, CONSTANT UPDATES – Chicago Craft Beer Week 2013

UPDATED – May 22, 2013

As if you needed a reason to celebrate, May 16-26 will be this year’s rendition of Chicago Craft Beer Week (CCBW). Dozens of craft-focused events will be going down every day throughout the Chicagoland area so you need to plan your calendar accordingly. If CCBW isn’t enough to get you anxious, please keep in mind that we will also be celebrating our first anniversary.

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Disclaimer: Please do not make any attempt to determine how much money you have spent in the past year at the Solemn Oath Brewery taproom or on our beer in the wild. This information will do nothing for you. The only type of measurement you should be making is in joy, and we’re guessing that’s pretty high.

OK. Chicago Craft Beer Week, eleven days of pure madness. Here is our schedule (for now):

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Founders & Radicals: Gabriel Magliaro

There is more to a great brewery than great beer. Growing a successful business takes leadership from minds that find solutions rather than problems.

Since 2007, Gabriel Magliaro and his colleagues at Half Acre Beer Company have proven themselves to be leaders in the beer community, churning out innovative brews surrounded by a constantly growing culture that is as equally impressive. 

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Origins – John Barley (Vol. 1)

If you want to build your own business, if you really think you’re up for it, there is only one approach: be as inevitable as the tide.

When I began this project,  I had an idea but no vision. I rode solo on a plane heading back from California in August of 2010 dreaming about beer. It was an industry I was only connected to as a consumer. It felt foreign to me, but I knew it was what I wanted to do; I knew that I would figure out how. With nothing more than that idea, I began to immerse myself in anything I could get my hands on that could help me learn about building a brewery. Books, magazines, and blogs helped me begin to understand the things I didn’t, but I couldn’t stop there.

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We’re going to change the world, probably.

Welcome. This is our next chapter.

Since May of 2012, Solemn Oath has been bringing you beer the best way that we know how. And we know that you know that you know that we know that we appreciate your support. It has landed us on the cover of Beer Advocate. It has propelled us to the medal stand with our very first batch of beer. Our successes are yours. Let’s have s’more.

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