Light the Lamp Brewery in Grayslake hopes to complete its long-discussed move down the block to the 101-year-old building at 2 S. Lake St. in late spring.
The village board on Tuesday approved a $150,000 economic grant the brewery can claim after its move, provided it generates the equivalent of 25 full-time jobs.
Co-owner Jeff Sheppard said the grant would cover about 10 percent of the cost to renovate the old Cupola Building.
Inside the building Friday, the signs of work were visible everywhere. The wooden frame of a large bar has been built, as has the outline of the kitchen, bathrooms and a serving station.
"The drywall will be up in a week or two and it'll look much better then," co-owner Bill Hermes said. "Then it won't look like a skeleton."
Hermes said it has been almost two years since moving to the historic building first was discussed. Since then, the building's owner has cleaned it out, added new exterior brick to the back and side walls and removed and replaced the aging skylight with new wood.
Launched in 2012 at 10 N. Lake St., Light the Lamp has had a production area and tap room, but no food offerings. Hermes and Sheppard said they've outgrown the space.
With the move, they'll be able to produce a greater variety and a higher quality of beer, brewer Daniel Ray said. Ray said they'd have room to age beer in whiskey barrels or make sour beer.
They expect to double the number of beers they'll have on tap. They will also be able to use their canning machine, which has been in storage in Colorado, so they can distribute their beer in the Chicago area.
Light the Lamp will mark the first time a brewery is based in the Cupola Building, built in 1916 for an automobile dealership and repair shop.
According to "Grayslake: A Historical Portrait," published by the village's historical society, the Brandstetter family owned the building's first business. Car businesses occupied the structure for roughly its first 50 years, followed by ventures such as a hair salon, a gymnastics center, a hardware store and a flea market. Light the Lamp intends to highlight that history for customers.
Hermes said they will soon cover the front windows and unveil the surprise when they are ready to open.
Since the landlord is the same at both buildings, they'll be able to move into their new space gradually, he said.
"And since it's just down the block maybe we won't need to rent any trucks," Hermes said.