The Concise Story
Two Brothers Brewing Company was founded by Jim and Jason Ebel in late 1996. The business was envisioned by the brothers based on their entry into entrepreneurship with The Brewer’s Coop, a retail store catering to home beer and wine making. In 1992 The Brewer’s Coop opened its doors in Naperville, IL selling retail ingredients and equipment for the homebrewing community. The more they were surrounded by brewing, the more passionate they became about opening their own microbrewery. In early 1996 they decided to take the plunge and started writing a business plan. Several months later their dream became reality. Two Brothers Brewing Company is still 100% family owned.
The Visual Story
The Long Story
Brothers Jim and Jason Ebel had spent time as ex-pats in Europe and learned the diversity and culture of European beers. Upon returning their options in flavor oriented craft beers was virtually non-existent, so Jim began homebrewing to replicate the beer styles he had come to love. He shared some of his brews with Jason and they decided to brew a batch together. This was the catalyst for Jason to start brewing. In 1992 the brothers opened a home beer and wine making store called The Brewer’s Coop in Naperville. In the coming years, much of their time together, Jim and Jason did little except talk of beer and brewing.
During this time, Jim was accepted to DePaul University’s College of Law and Jason moved to Colorado to start his professional brewing career in Denver. Jim continued to run The Brewer’s Coop with the help of his family. As The Brewer’s Coop got busier, Jason moved back to Chicago to help at the store and began brewing at a local brewpub.
It didn’t take long for them to begin dreaming of running their own brewery. After a while, the constant talk of having a brewery started to get on their family’s nerves. One night as the extended family got together for Sunday dinner and the talk inevitably began about beer, their mother said “you guys either need to open a brewery or shut-up about it ‘cause you’re driving me crazy.” The brothers could only assume that was the family blessing, so planning started for Two Brothers Brewing Company. Initially the thought was to open a brewpub, but with little financing and no knowledge of restaurant management, they decided on a production brewery.
As planning began, Jason started his brewing studies at the Siebel Institute of Technology. As the planning proceeded, Jim graduated from Law School and Jason received his diploma in Brewing and Fermentation Sciences. With Jim’s knowledge of the Law and running a business and Jason’s expertise in brewing, they finalized the business plan in early 1996. Armed with desire, determination and the plan, they set-out to find financing. After months of bank interviews and hounding every family member they could think of, they had the modest budget they need to begin their adventure.
The original brewery was designed around the brewhouse, a 15 barrel system produced in Vancouver and designed by Jason based on the traditional 3-vessel brewhouses of Germany. Jim and Jason were both passionate about Hefeweizen style beers, and the brewery’s design was intended to aid in the brewing of this world class beer. The rest of the brewery equipment was mostly donated! The Ebel brother’s grandfather, a retired dairy farmer, donated his bulk milk tanks, which were quickly converted to fermenters. The aging tanks were dairy cream tanks. Two Brothers Brewing Company sold its first keg in March of 1997. They started as a draft-only brewery, lacking the funding to install a bottling line.
All that changed in 1998 when they installed their first bottling line, an 8-head bottling line which had a capacity of about 16 bottles per minute. Due to increased sales and demand, Two Brothers replaced their 8 head bottle filler in 2003, with a state of the art 20 head machine that has a capacity of 150 bottles per minute. In November of 2007 Two Brothers moved into a new 40,000 square foot facility. When they moved, they took the opportunity to install a new 50 barrel brewing system and added 3000 barrels of fermentation space. By April of 2008, they had reached capacity in the new brewery and went through another expansion. These expansions seem to be ongoing endeavors, with the brothers adding fermentation capacity every year. 2013 included more big expansions, including the installation of a new 48-head bottle filler capable of filling 300 bottles per minute.
Two Brothers Brewing Company is proud of the fact that since inception we’ve remained 100% family owned. Two Brothers’ “Whole family of great beers” are currently available in Illinois, Florida, Indiana, Minnesota, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania.