Vice District was founded by neighbors who developed a passion for beer through home brewing. When we opened our original taproom in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood in 2014, we tried to capture that feeling of hanging out and drinking beers in a neighbor’s basement. As Chicago’s first black-owned brewery, we dedicated ourselves to crafting a community where anyone could feel at home, from the beer enthusiast to the person just dipping their toes into the craft world.
The name was chosen as a nod to the neighborhood, which was known as Chicago’s “vice district” in the city’s early days. It was a place where people from all over could go and be comfortable with who they were — and connect with others who also were looking for something different.
Over the years, we've seen countless examples of our beer building that type of community. And that’s why we’re relaunching in 2021.
What is Vice District’s initial origin story? What is the significance of the name “Vice District”?
Vice District was founded by neighbors who developed a passion for beer through home brewing. When we opened our taproom in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood in 2014, we tried to capture that feeling of coming together and enjoying great beer with friends and family in the backyard, family room, or a neighbor’s basement.
The name was chosen as a nod to the early days of the neighborhood, which was known as Chicago’s “vice district.” It was a place where people would come to connect, be authentically themselves, and engage in their vices without judgement.
Why did you decide to relaunch?
We knew from the taproom that Vice District had the ingredients (literally and figuratively) for a successful brewery. Once the original Vice District closed, it was just a matter of putting the right team in place, and finding the right opportunity to bring back our beer and vibe that so many had grown to love.
The timing was also right because we have always leveraged beer to build community through conversation. Given all that has happened since we closed in 2019, we feel now is a perfect time to get back to community.
Beyond that, we’re passionate about our customers and all the relationships we’ve built over the years. We’re passionate about being a black-owned brewery and broadening the craft beer space to new communities and cultures. And, of course, we’re passionate about our beer. We can’t wait to see all of those things combining again.
Who are the company leaders?
Curtis J. Tarver II, an original Vice District co-founder and Illinois state representative and André Wright, an investor in the original Vice District.
Do you have a physical location?
We are not launching with a physical location, and are instead staying laser focused on the beer. However, we are exploring the possibility and we will provide an update if/when that becomes a reality.
What types of beer will you be brewing and why?
We’re beginning with Pleasure Trip, the blonde ale that was the most popular beer at our South Loop taproom. We will continue to reintroduce other classic Vice beers, both on a permanent and seasonal basis, and will always leave the door open to continue experimenting with new beers and variations.
Where will Vice District Beer be available?
Vice will be available at various bars, restaurants, and hotels, as well as at certain festivals. For a full and up-to-date list, please visit our “Find Us” page.