pretzelsA Brewpub is envisioned to occupy one of the key historic structures in the former Rawleigh Complex. Not only does the complex offer the advantage of dramatic industrial architecture, the bustling pub atmosphere would serve as a great activity hub for the site.


Brewpubs are restaurants that offer a wide selection of microbrewed beers. They are often described as a combination of a microbrewery, which offers many locally crafted beers, and a traditional English pub-style restaurant. Brewmasters operate within the pub producing seasonal in-house brews that can be paired with the restaurant’s menu and vice versa. These establishments can be as small as a quaint store front, to much larger industrial operations taking up several thousand square feet. Craft brewers are defined by the Brewers Association as producing fewer than 6 million barrels of beer annually. Brewpubs can be found in many countries and have found popularity in American cities in recent years, especially those with a rich tradition of craft beer brewing and sampling.

Freeport has a rich brewing history. Freeport became known as “the Pretzel City” in reference to the German recipe pretzels made by the Billerbeck Bakery to accompany beers from the many breweries in Freeport—at least six breweries in the late 1800s.

Freeport is getting back to its brewing roots, boasting an annual Pretzel City Brewfest and welcoming new breweries in the area including Generations Brewing Company in Freeport.


Many brewpubs and their patrons still value the “old world” industrial feel that is often associated with breweries. Thus, Rawleigh’s tall ceilings, versatile space, and existing utility connections make it an ideal location for the culinary entrepreneur looking to brew micro quantities of beer. Rawleigh’s manufacturing heritage partnered with the production of local brews would make a brewpub a regional attraction, creating a hub of festive activity at the complex during lunch, dinner, and weekend hours.


Examples of great brewpubs large and small can be found across the world, but the Midwest has found particular success in industry.

Arcadia Ales, Battle Creek, MI and Kalamazoo, MI: Established in 1996, this large microbrewery opened their 30,000 sqft Arcadia Ales’ Kalamazoo Riverfront Brewery, Pub and Kitchen in May 2014 on the site of a former coal-burning Consumer Energy power plant that had been vacant for about 20 years.

Blue Heron Brewpub, Marshfield,WI: Located in historic Parkin Place, the former dairy processing plant now offers a casual dining and fine dining experience centered around their unique craft beers which are distributed exclusively in their establishment.

Great Waters Brewing Company, Saint Paul, MN: Nestled in downtown Saint Paul, this award winning brewer is located in the Historic Hamm Building and offers up to nine hand-crafted beers on tap.

Front Street Brewery, Davenport, IA: Front Street operates a Brewpub and tap house in Davenport. The main brewery and restaurant are both over 100 years old and offer the exposed brick, burnished wood interior, and industrial charm that only time can provide.


The Powerhouse (Building C) is the primary target for a brewpub or similar restaurant use. The City is currently analyzing the building for improvement needs and rehab potential. This concept plan illustrates how a restaurant could lay out in the space and this pro-forma illustrates potential operating costs for a restaurant.

A brewery use could also use portions of Building B for operations. The City is seeking short and long term uses for Building B and following a plan to re-occupy the building floor-by-floor as tenants are identified.  The first floor has a net leasable area of approximately 11,500 sq. ft. that can be divided to accommodate individual tenant spaces of 500 sq. ft. to 8,000 sq. ft. The utilitarian yet historic nature of both buildings makes them excellent locations for brew masters and foodies to flex their culinary muscles.