Two Brothers 20th Anniversary
In the spring of 1997, homebrewers Jim and Jason Ebel released their first beer as Two Brothers Brewing Company. Since then, the two-man operation has grown into a multi-category lifestyle brand that includes award-winning craft beer, specialty-grade coffee, four artisan restaurants and now a line of hand-crafted spirits.
One of Illinois’ original craft breweries, Two Brothers remains 100% family owned and continues to revolutionize the craft beer industry by pioneering high-quality, flavorful artisan beers.
Always evolving, Two Brothers Brewing Company has a big year on tap to help celebrate its 20th Anniversary. Scroll down for a brief history of how we got this point and what we have in store for the future. Cheers!
A PASSION BECOMES A COMPANY
After incorporating Two Brothers Brewing Company in the fall of 1996, Jim and Jason Ebel brew their first beer on March 16, 1997. Brewing out of a small brewhouse with their grandfather’s dairy tanks, the Ebel brothers create what is now sold as Ebel’s Weiss.
A BEER LINEUP IS CREATED
The brothers purchase their first bottling line, which was actually made for wine bottles and packaged just 12 beers a minute. Now brewing Two Brothers Best Brown and Prairie Path Golden Ale, along with Ebel’s Weiss, Jim and Jason bottle their first seasonal, Iditarod Imperial Stout (now Northwind). The family grows to three with the hiring of its first non-Ebel employee.
NECESSITY CREATES A DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
After self distributing for two years, Two Brothers was required by the state to separate its brewing and distribution businesses. So, out of necessity, Jim and Jason acquire separate brewer, retailer and distribution licenses and open Windy City Distribution, which would become the premier craft beer distributor in Chicagoland.
A BITTER END
After forming Two Brothers, Jim and Jason vow to never brew a Pale Ale, a style that every brewer had already made. However, as Two Brothers prepares to distribute to its first out-of-state market, Wisconsin, the distributor demands a Pale Ale be added to the lineup. After fighting to the bitter end, the brothers relent and brew... The Bitter End Pale Ale.
BEERS BECOME A SEASONAL THING
The Two Brothers beer lineup continues to grow as seasonal beers Dog Days Dortmunder Lager and Heavy Handed IPA are added. The latter is one of the first wet-hopped beers in the country. The company also continues to grow in distribution, entering its first out of state market in Wisconsin.
THE FLAGSHIP IS BORN
A local French restaurant in Naperville asks the brothers to brew a European style beer for one its tap lines. Inspired by their time spent in France, Jim and Jason create a French-style beer which quickly becomes a Two Brothers' favorite. Two years later, Two Brothers officially bottles the beer in celebration of the 222nd Bastille Day. Now a six-time, award-winning beer, Domaine DuPage French Country Ale, stands as the flagship beer of the brewery.
A BARREL MILESTONE IS ACHIEVED
As Two Brothers passes the 5,000 barrels barrier, a new bottling line and several 50-barrel tanks are added to the brewhouse.
A WRONG TURN LEADS TO A BIG UPGRADE
As demand increases, Two Brothers begins to outgrow its brewhouse. On a detour, Jason drives past a for sale sign in front of an old gymnastics studio tucked back in an industrial park in Warrenville, IL. The brothers purchase the property and turn it into a 40,000-square-foot brewing facility.
Later that year, Two Brothers wins its first medal at the Great American Beer Festival, a bronze for Domaine DuPage. It was just the second submission from Two Brothers as the company did not have the money required for admittance in years' past. Over the next 10 years, Two Brothers wins 11 total medals at the Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup.
BEER AND FOOD: A PERFECT PAIRING
With the new brewery in place, the attached Two Brothers Tap House opens on Fat Tuesday.
Several months later, the first Two Brothers Summer Festival is held in the brewery’s parking lot to help raise money for a family friend's daughter who was battling childhood cancer. Now in it's ninth year, Two Brothers Summer Festival has donated thousands of dollars to local charities including Make-A-Wish Illinois.
A HISTORIC INVESTMENT
The city of Aurora approaches the Ebel brothers about purchasing America’s Historical Roundhouse (formerly Walter Payton’s Roundhouse). After purchase, the building is renovated in just two weeks and reopens as the Two Brothers Roundhouse.
COFFEE IS ADDED TO THE MIX
Two Brothers Coffee Roasters is established with the goal of producing small-batch roasted, specialty-grade coffee. Sales begin the following year.
Since then, Two Brothers Coffee Roasters has enjoyed substantial growth, producing over 120,000 pounds of coffee in 2016.
WOBBLING ON THE EDGE OF VERY HOPPY
Two Brothers' beer lineup continues to expand as Wobble IPA is released as the newest year-round beer and Sour #2 wins gold at Great American Beer Festival.
After selling Windy City Distributing in 2012, Two Brothers gets back into the distribution business, starting Arizona Beer & Cider out of Phoenix, Arizona.
The expansion in the Southwest continues as Two Brothers Tap House & Brewery in Scottsdale, Arizona opens as the company’s third restaurant.
The brewery offers five ever-changing brewed-on-site beers that compliments the Two Brothers' year-long favorites and seasonal brews.
A NEW DIVISION AND RESTAURANT ARE FORMED
After years of researching, developing and aging rare, single-batch beers Two Brothers Special Projects Division is formed with the intention of releasing these extremely limited specialty beers.
Domaine DuPage continues to be recognized as one of the best beers in the country, winning gold at the Great American Beer Festival and bronze at the World Beer Cup in the same calendar year.
Two Brothers fourth location, The Craftsman by Two Brothers, opens in downtown Naperville. The newest addition to Two Brothers features a multi-level dining establishment, incorporating a market café, farm-to-table restaurant and craft cocktail bar.
20 YEARS OF CHICAGO CRAFT
Twenty years later, Two Brothers remains 100% family owned and staunchly independent. Since Jim and Jason first followed their passion and created Two Brothers Brewing Company, the two-man operation has grown into a lifestyle brand with over 400 employees.
Always evolving, Two Brothers has a big year on tap to help celebrate its 20th Anniversary. Plans for a state-of-the-art brewing facility and campus are currently in the works and a new distillery, located in the Two Brothers Roundhouse, is near completion for the launch Two Brothers Artisan Spirits. Two Brothers is also set to revamp its artisan beer lineup and open a fifth location in Oak Park.