Rock Bottom Brewery, a River North institution, has abruptly closed after more than two decades in business.

A River North institution has closed its doors after more than two decades of operation.

Rock Bottom Brewery, located at the intersection of State Street and Grand Avenue, served its last beers on Sunday night.

A dumpster has been placed in front of the business, and employees have been cleaning it out, while a sign in the window says, “thank you for the many great years of support.”

According to the CEO of SPB Hospitality, Rock Bottom’s lease at State and Grand expired, and the company decided not to renew, citing that post-Covid sales were simply not what they used to be.

The closure affects approximately 45 employees, but many will be able to transfer to suburban locations.

The closure is significant, according to Ray Stout, executive director of the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild, because Rock Bottom made a mark on the brewing industry and inspired others to follow suit.

“They were in the foreground of doing interesting styles, specifically, barrel-aged beer, in a time where no other brewery was doing it in Illinois and hardly any other brewery was doing it in the country,” Stout said.

“And a matter of fact, our Festival of Barrel-Aged Beer which is the largest barrel-aged festival in North America started at Rock Bottom,” Stout added.

Rock Bottom locations in Orland Park, Warrenville, and Yorktown will continue to operate. Gift cards and loyalty rewards are still valid at those locations.

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