Today’s interview is long overdue. But that doesn’t surprise me, because if there’s anyone in beer that hates attention, it’s this guy. Andres Araya of 5 Rabbit Cerveceria in Bedford Park, IL, just beyond the city limits of Chicago by Midway Airport.
I first met Andres and his partners, which included Randy Mosher, back in 2012 when they were working their way into the market through contract brewing. It wasn’t long before they were struggling to get the beer right and ran into severe creative limitations, and Andres wasted no time in building his own brewery, far ahead of schedule. He wanted control over his beer.
Since then, they’ve gone on to be a rock solid brewery in Chicago, making some of the most creative beers I’ve seen. A lulo fruit double IPA, a cricket gose, the Paletas beers that are super low abv, popsicle-inspired beers. If you can’t already tell, they’re latin-inspired, and perhaps the first in the US to be so.
My relationship with Andres may have started in 2012, but thing really got interesting a couple years later - once he had his brewery built, he had a talented production brewer from Goose Island now on the team, and some other partnership battles behind him, Andres was ready to flip the switch and express the 5 Rabbit vision the way he had always imagined it. And he brought me on board to help him realize it. We worked on the branding, the portfolio, planning out sales and production, and articulating some of the more creative things he wanted to do. We did it as a team, about 5 of us together over the course of a couple months. And once we got the plan and vision in place, they went after it. And I’m excited to see them flourishing into the brewery they always had the talent and the determination to be. I think they’re delivering some of the most creative, and ambitious beer in the midwest.