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Local News

Family of rapper Juice WRLD to open brewery in Homewood

From left, Homewood trustees Lisa Purcell and Barbara Dawkins listen while Robert Lauderdale and Carmela Wallace explain their plans to open a new brewery and restaurant in space previously occupied by Vice District Brewing on Dixie Highway. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)

An agreement with Homewood Brewing Company, owned by the family of one of the town’s most talented sons, was approved by the village board Tuesday. 

Owners Robert Lauderdale and Carmela Wallace spoke at the board meeting. Wallace’s son Jarad Higgins, better known as rapper Juice WRLD, died in 2019. He was a beloved cultural figure in the village and around the world. 

“I’m from Homewood. Homewood is special to me,” she said. “(The brewery is) my way to pay tribute to (my son), as well. I was so happy to have the opportunity to come back to Homewood and serve the community.” 

Homewood Brewing will open at the former location of Vice District Brewing at 18027 Dixie Highway downtown. Vice District announced in December 2019 that it was closing for good. Vice District’s brewing equipment was sold after the business closed. 

The business left a $20,000 mortgage obligation on the property for the village. 

Homewood Brewing will pay the town that money when the purchase of the property is complete.

The village will reimburse owners that $20,000 if a series of criteria are met within 12 months. 

The new owners estimate a $1.2 million investment in the property, including a renovation and a new kitchen. It will operate as both a brewery and a restaurant with a full menu for lunch and dinner.

In addition to their own creations, Homewood Brewing plans to offer beers from other local craft brewers. It will offer access to brewing equipment to some of those brewers as an incubator. The company also plans to reach out to local colleges in the hopes they’ll agree to do seminars and teach classes at the brewery. 

Homewood brewing will have a Southland focus, using locally-sourced materials and foods.

“Our focus is to bring people into Homewood. We want to try to make Homewood the Mecca for craft beer in the Chicago area,” Lauderdale said. “We want that homestyle kind of appeal that Homewood is known for.” 

Once construction begins, owners said the business will be ready to open in nine to 10 months. 

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