South Loop Brewing Calls Out Rick Bayless Over Crown Imports Partnership

In Beer News by Karl

Rick Bayless, one of Chicago’s most popular chefs, one of the President’s favorite chefs, and perhaps most well known as (at least on a national level) a “Top Chef Master,” announced plans to create a “craft beer” with Corona maker Crown Imports, according to Crain’s.

The Chicago restaurateur and PBS cooking-show star will partner with the nation’s largest beer importer to create a craft beer that will hit stores next year. The planned brew is part of a significant new deal that Mr. Bayless has struck with Crown Imports, which distributes Corona and other Mexican beer brands in the U.S.

That didn’t sit well with at least one local brewer, South Loop Brewing, who took to Twitter to call out the chef to their 1,500+ followers this morning.




These days, chefs and custom-created beers are almost the norm. From the collaborations between various local breweries and chef Cleetus Friedman, to Jared Rouben’s chef-centric beers at Goose Island (and his own in-the-works brewery), to brews created by Begyle for Allium and Metropolitan’s “Lillie’s Lager” for Lillie’s Q, Chicago chefs love working with Chicago breweries. Bayless himself has referenced Negro Modelo in a number of recipes in the past.

It’s also worth mentioning at this point that it’s not like this is Bayless’ first “dance with the devil,” as it were. He took a decent amount of heat for appearing in Burger King advertisements back in 2003 (also worth noting he donated his appearance fee to charity), and his house brand of beer, Marisol, is brewed for him by Goose Island.

This is pure conjecture here, but perhaps Goose’s association with the A-B guys here eased the way towards partnering with another massive beer partner…one, coincidentally enough, that owns the brewery (Grupo Modelo) that InBev is trying to purchase right now.

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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.