I reported Saturday that Empirical Brewery, one of my favorite hang-outs just 400 meters from my new house, closed unexpectedly on Sunday. Block Club Chicago's Alex Hernandez found out why:
Empirical Brewery was booted from its building and abruptly shut down over the weekend following a months-long legal battle in which the landlord said the company did not pay its rent for several months this year, according to court records.
Hayes Properties, which owns the Foster Avenue building, served Empirical owner Bill Hurley with a five-day notice in May for the brewery to pay just over $16,496 in unpaid rent, or else the lease would be terminated, court documents show.
The landlord then moved to evict Empirical in June, court records show. In that filing, attorneys said the brewery owners owed back rent from Jan. 1 through May 19.
Cook County Judge Theresa M. Smith Conyers granted the eviction request in August, giving Empirical until Sept. 6 to move out of the Foster Avenue building.
The landlord went back to court Sept. 8, saying the brewery was still operating in the space. The landlord asked the court to enforce the eviction, and order Empirical to pay back rent, rent for every month they continued to occupy the building and attorneys fees. In all, Empirical owed about $30,600, court records show.
I'm sorry it went down like that. I hope the employees find new work quickly. And this does increase the likelihood that another brewery will move in. One can hope, anyway.