Microbrewery seeks spot in Huntley's Union Special building

By HANNAH PROKOP – hprokop@shawmedia.com 
View of the Union Special building from Borden Street and Union Special Plaza.
By HANNAH PROKOP – hprokop@shawmedia.com View of the Union Special building from Borden Street and Union Special Plaza.

HUNTLEY – A microbrewery and taproom could be coming to Huntley.

The owners of Union Special LLC – Terry Hitpas, Tom Bartel and Lance Lamb – are proposing to open the new business in the original Borden Dairy section of the Union Special manufacturing building, 1 Union Special Plaza, village documents show.

At the Huntley Committee of the Whole meeting Thursday, trustees will be presented with a conceptual plan for the project. If the board gives consensus to move forward, the owners will start the formal development review and approval process, village documents show.

“We think the time is right for Huntley to have something like this,” Hitpas said.

Union Special, a sewing machine manufacturing company, has been operating in Huntley since 1949, documents show. Parts of the building date back to the early 1900s, Hitpas said.

More than 20 organizations rent out space in the building, Hitpas said.

The microbrewery and taproom would take up about 2,700 square feet in the southeast corner of the facility, near the smokestack, Hitpas said. 

Craft beer would be made in the facility, and a taproom would allow for customers to drink beer, bring in food from other restaurants and buy beer ‘to go’ in controlled containers, village documents show. An outdoor beer garden also has been proposed.

The three owners have been working for Union Special for more than 35 years, and all are craft beer enthusiasts, documents show. Additional local investors would be sought for the venture.

“The whole brewing concept was just something we all got into a little while ago, and [we] decided that this was something maybe we could bring to the village,” Hitpas said. 

Even if the village approves the plans, Hitpas said it could take another six to nine months before the concept would come to fruition. 

The village would have to change the zoning ordinance to allow for a brewery/microbrewery as a special use within a manufacturing zoning district, and add a liquor license classification to allow for a brewery/taproom, village documents show. 

The Committee of the Whole meeting where the concept will be discussed will be at 7 p.m. Thursday at Village Hall, 10987 Main St., Huntley. 

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