Makgeolli To Be Brewed In Chicago Soon? So What is Makgeolli Anyways?

In Beer News by Karl

There are seemingly dozens of breweries in the planning stage throughout the state, but one of the most interesting and unique has taken the first step towards opening, and they’re not brewing beer – they’re brewing Korean rice wine, or Makgeolli.

Today the Illinois Liquor Control Commission posted Slow City Brewery’s (and Slow City Makgeolli’s) craft brewer application on its website for a mandatory 45-day public viewing period. In the application, Slow City states it plans to produce over 200,000 gallons (about 7,500 barrels) a year and has inked a distribution deal with Korea Food Corp in Lincolnwood.

Niles, IL based Uniko Enterprises is behind the venture.

Way back last February, Chuck Sudo at Chicagoist had the first news about the planned brewing operation. If you’re not familiar with the drink, which apparently is best as fresh as possible, Sudo describes it as being “noted for its milky white appearance, sweet flavor and purported antioxidant benefits.”

More from last February:

 “The Chicago brewery will be producing saeng (unsterilised [sic]) makgeolli, meaning the yeast is still fermenting and the beverage must be consumed quickly. Once the brewery is in operation, Bae Sang Myun hopes to produce 50,000 cases of makgeolli a month.”

Slow City would be the nation’s first Makgeolli brewery. Between beer, spirits (Koval, Letherbee, Few), mead (Wild Blossom), wine (City Winery) and now this new type of offering, the Chicago area is well on its way to being the most diverse brewing scene in the nation as well, if it’s not there already.

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About the Author


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Karl has written about food, travel and beer for Chicago Magazine, Draft Magazine, Thrillist, Time Out Chicago and more. His book, Beer Lovers Chicago, comes out in early 2017, and if you're buying, he's likely having a porter or a pale ale.