Lockport resident helps lead expanding brewery
Pollyanna Brewing Company is looking to go the distance, or “The Full Lemonty”—as its founders coined the term— to clench the area’s thirst for craft beer.
After three years of keeping beers on tap, a Lemont craft brewery, which opened under the direction of Lockport resident Paul Ciciora and his four partners, is expanding its operations to a second location at 245 E. Main St. in Roselle.
“Being here in Lemont has been fantastic for us,” Ciciora said. “Having the new location is very exciting that we’re going to be opening up there.”
The Roselle location will open in November and feature a brewery, taproom and an outdoor beer garden.
“There’s not a lot of breweries up in that area, so we figured that would give us a good reason to be up that way,” Ciciora said. “We’ve had great response from the people in Itasca, and in Roselle, and [in] Schaumburg that are looking forward to us coming into town.”
Pollyanna Brewing Company had participated in a number of festivals in and around Roselle to give people of taste of what they intend to offer.
“It was well-received,” Ciciora said. “[A festival] was on the same basic street as where we were going to be [operating.] We were able to tell new potential customers where the new location was at.”
Unlike the Lemont location—which has commercial brewing vessels—Roselle site staff intend to use two foeders.
“[There is] a very small area that will be for brewing,” Ciciora said. “We’re going to be doing some fermentation there, some wild yeast, and some sours. We’re putting those in vessels that are called foeders that we just bought, and these foeders are Slovenian oak, and they came from Italy. They’re large vessels—15-barrel vessels—that you put the liquid in to actually do the fermentation.”
On site, they will brew craft beers styled with wild and sours. The 15-barrel system, which is to be used in Roselle, will produce smaller batches of craft beer for people to enjoy, Ciciora said.
“Those vessels are made just for those styles of beer, so they age, they pick up the oaky-ness of the wood, they pick up the funk that was in there from the beer that was in there prior to fermenting,” Ciciora said. “They do that all at once inside those vessels.”
Typically, beers styled with wild and sours are not offered at the Lemont location.
Ciciora said they want to provide a nice offering for new potential customers in Roselle.
“The taproom is just a nice way to have customers come in, get familiar with the brand, enjoy the atmosphere, and sample all of what we have,” Ciciora said.
At 3,300 square feet, the new indoor space will seat approximately 88 people.
The Roselle site will have tap handles to give patrons a taste of other styles brewed by Pollyanna Brewing Company. Flagship beers commonly requested by patrons at the Lemont location include The Full Lemonty, a golden ale; Eleanor, a porter; Lexical Gap, an India pale ale; and Mazzie, an American pale ale.
Ciciora is in charge of sales and marketing for Pollyanna Brewing Company. The success of these efforts over time has not disappointed, Ciciora said.
“Getting the beer out and working with our distribution partner, Heartland Beverage, has been great because that’s helped us get our foot in the door at so many different locations,” he said.
“We’re at over 500 different retail [locations,] whether it be a bar, club, restaurant or your Binny’s [Beverage Depot] or Jewel[-Osco] or Malloys [Finest Wines & Spirits] or Kenwood [Wine &] Liquors store—you know, I could go on and on and on with all the names—but to be able to go out, and make those initial calls, and have them try a beer, and then put on the next brand, [and] put on the next brand, [and] keep opening up their space on their shelves for more Pollyanna because it’s selling well. I mean—that’s the stuff that’s just incredible,” he added.
Ciciora said it has been pleasing to see taproom sales continue to increase.
“We always thought they would level out or maybe even decrease half the time because people [are] going to keep trying other breweries,” he said. “There’s always other breweries popping up in the area, but I think [the key is] the consistency of our beer, the addition to the new styles of beer all time. [People are] always coming up [to say,] ‘Hey, what’s new?’ …. [Head brewer and co-founder] Bryan [Pawola], the styles that he makes and the flavors, it’s just some great beer that people keep coming back for all the time.”
Pollyanna Brewing Company does not intend to serve food at the new site, which is consistent with operations at the Lemont location. Instead, staff intends to bring in food trucks, local menus and encourage patrons to bring their own food.
Business hours for the two locations will remain consistent, with the buildings closed on Monday for special events and open from 3-10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 3-11 p.m. Fridays, noon-11 p.m. Saturdays and noon-7 p.m. Sundays.
“We’re right down the block from Lynfred Winery, so at one end of the block is going to be the winery, and at the other end block is going to be the brewery,” Ciciora said. “We think that’s going to be a good mix. For customers that want to drink wine, they can certainly go one direction and the other direction for the beer drinkers. Maybe it’ll still be place where you can start at one [establishment] and end up at the other, and then there’s a lot of restaurants in the middle.”