Destihl Brings Big City Brewing to Central Illinois

 Destihl's Beer Hall offers 30 taps and an expanded food menu, with combined indoor and outdoor patio seating for 400.

Destihl's Beer Hall offers 30 taps and an expanded food menu, with combined indoor and outdoor patio seating for 400.

Almost a year after opening its new Brewery and Beer Hall in Normal, all systems are go for Destihl to ramp up production in 2018.

In its current configuration the brewhouse can produce over 100,000 barrels of brews each year. With 37,000 square feet of production space, Destihl has room to increase capacity well beyond 120,000 barrels a year as the company continues to grow.

Founder and CEO Matt Potts said he wouldn’t be surprised if Destihl expanded distribution from 24 to 30 US states by year’s end. The company already hit a major milestone with its first export to South Korea in December.

Potts said the goal is to increase production without getting too close to capacity too soon, a challenge--albeit a good one--the company has faced since opening its first production facility in Normal in 2013. Destihl quickly outgrew the space, announcing plans to build a larger facility just two and a half years later.

The company moved production to the new facility in April 2017, opening the Beer Hall to the public in May.

With Destihl’s warehouse and beer cooler both looking full, Potts is already thinking ahead to possible expansions at the new facility. The company has the option to build additional warehousing on an adjacent lot.

Until then Potts said the company will continue raising the bar for local food and craft beer options while expanding sales and distribution nationwide.

Destihl made a name for itself by offering craft brews alongside chef-inspired food at a time when sharp economic downturn meant Americans had to think twice about where to spend their paychecks.

“We gave people value for what they were spending,” Potts said.

Ten years after opening its first brewpub in Normal, Destihl’s Normal and Champaign locations continue to rank among the top-rated restaurants in town.

Destihl2.jpg

Now The Beer Hall has put Destihl on the map again as a “destination brewery,” with visitors from across the country stopping for tours and take-home brews.

With its expanded food menu, The Beer Hall also offers new entrees and pizza as well as the original burgers, sandwiches and appetizers--all in addition to its many brew choices.

The hall has indoor seating for 200, with seating for another 200 on the outdoor patio. In November Destihl made room for private events in its barrel room, hosting its first wedding in February.

Although The Beer Hall is technically a taproom, Potts said the size and grand atmosphere make the space worthy of its title. Local patrons say they feel like they’ve stepped into a Rocky mountain resort right in their backyard.

“It’s great to offer that to the community,” Potts said. “It’s always been our goal to give people an experience they weren’t otherwise used to in this town.”

Potts attributes much of the company’s immense growth over the last few years to Destihl’s Wild Sour series.

“It’s a beer style we probably wouldn’t have imagined drinking in Bloomington-Normal when we opened the brewpub in Normal in 2007. For that to be the style that’s catapulted us to where we are now as a company is pretty interesting.”

While large metropolitan areas and coastal cities are usually pioneers of new brew styles, Destihl led the charge brewing its industry-changing sour, dedicating 60% of production to the style.

The series will be released this year on longer trimester runs as part of Destihl’s new streamlined 2018 release calendar. With fewer seasonal beers and more year-round offerings, Potts said the company can focus on building sales growth across the board.

Potts said Destihl also plans to add a labeler to its high-speed canning line, making it easier to release limited-time, small-batch brews at the Beer Hall and area vendors.

“It’s kind of a special treat for the locals while we’re still focusing on distributing all over the country.”

Menus and hours for all three Destihl locations are available at www.destihl.com.