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Forgottonia Brewing Opens in Macomb with Help of SBDC

June 14, 2019


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MACOMB, IL -- Forgottonia Brewing, the first craft brewery in Macomb, has launched its business with a series of soft openings during the past week, officially opening Wednesday, June 12.

The 2018 Downtown Macomb Retail Competition winners developed their winning pitch with help from the Illinois Small Business Development Center (IL SBDC) at Western Illinois University (WIU). Forgottonia Brewing won the grand prize, offering incentives totaling over $28,000.

"The SBDC, and the competition, really kicked off our publicity and gave us validity," said Sean West, Forgottonia's brewer. "We've had a huge following waiting for us to open ever since."

The brewery is located near Macomb's Amtrak station, bringing new life to the northern edge of the downtown area. West added, "The location was chosen to facilitate a connection between the town and the school."

A webmaster at WIU, West connected with the Forgottonia founders through Macomb's Homebrew Club, a product-testing group which has provided direction for their menu of six seasonally-rotating beer styles on tap. The brewers will offer light and dark varieties, hoppy, Belgian, a sour and one experimental beer.

"Sour beer is magic," West said. "It's unfiltered and it's a great way to get your probiotics. The beer is fresher than you can get anywhere else because the keg is tapped daily…and the money spent here stays here."

Growlers and an on-site canning machine will also allow patrons to take home the brews. Illinois guest taps from other breweries and cideries, such as Petersburg's Hand of Fate Brewing, will be offered as well. Because the brewery is a taproom only, a variety of area food trucks will be scheduled to complement their beers.

Co-hosting events with WIU, featuring a local yoga teacher, area comedians and the Macomb community choir, will help the brewery to become a part of the community.

The brewery's name originates from a compelling period in Illinois' history, in response to a series of devastating economic blows to the region during the 1960s. A group of concerned citizens dubbed a 16-county section of west central Illinois "Forgottonia" to protest lacking state and federal funding for infrastructure in the region.

By the early 1970s, Forgottonia leaders had appointed a governor, selected a capitol and threatened secession to declare war, surrender and petition for foreign aid. Forgottonia has come to represent the connection with west central Illinois people who refuse to allow themselves be forgotten.

Because Forgottonia is deeply rooted in the region, whenever possible local sourcing is the focus of the brewers. Hops will be sourced from two local farms; apples from a local orchard will be used in the hard cider, and there are further plans for additional sourcing. Forgottonia is also donating its spent grains to area farmers to use in feed, as well as donating to a local manufacturer for use in dog biscuits.

For more on Forgottonia Brewing, visit forgottoniabrewing.com.

The Illinois Small Business Development Center is a unit of the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs at WIU. It is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the U.S. Small Business Administration and Western.

Posted By: WIU News (U-Relations@wiu.edu)
Office of University Relations