NEAR WEST SIDE — Like a lot of Chicago bars and restaurants, Midwest Coast Brewing was struggling to survive the state-mandated coronavirus shutdown. But despite that, the brewery agreed to pay its staff for the two weeks they were limited to carry-out only.
Thursday morning, its owners were awakened by their security company telling them that for the third time in as many weeks, a burglar had struck — and presented them with another obstacle to overcome.
Around 1:30 a.m. Thursday, a burglar broke a window to get into the brewery at 2137 W. Walnut St. The thief pried open a safe and even stole snacks the owners bought for the staff. In all, co-owner Suzie Compton estimated the loss at $5,000 to $10,000.
“This is the third time in three weeks that this has happened. I think this just hits harder because it’s during this time and we especially need the money,” Compton said.
A lone burglar was captured on video surveillance and the Chicago Police are investigating, Compton said. She said in the first burglary, two people were caught on video. There was just one person on video in the two most recent burglaries.
“After the first two times the footage wasn’t as good, but this time we were able to see a car and we were able to get a lot more information,” Compton said, adding the burglar broke an office window with his bare hands to gain entry.
Along with cash from the safe, the burglar stole laptops, tools used to fix brewery equipment, merchandise and even a 60-pound bag of gummy bears and other snacks.
Compton said that the burglar may have gotten more money if Midwest Coast hadn’t implemented a credit-card-only policy for carryout beer growlers, the only thing they’ve been selling since Monday.
As of Thursday afternoon, no arrests had been made, according to a Chicago Police spokesperson.
The brewery was opened by Compton and her husband Cameron, along with his sister Lanie Veckman in September, bringing life to a 100-year-old, 15,000-square-foot building that had sat vacant for a decade.
The name Midwest Coast Brewery is a nod to both the Great Lakes region as well as the brewery’s flagship brew — an India Pale Ale that blends bitter, earthy West Coast hops and bright, citrusy East Coast hops.
Despite the burglary and the coronavirus shutdown, Compton said they still plan on paying their employees. They announced Thursday the launch of a new online ordering page. Twenty percent of every online sale will be deposited into a staff relief fund.
Compton said after posting about the burglary Thursday morning on social media, the neighborhood response has restored her faith.
“The community support has just been so nice and so overwhelming. We actually kind of cried reading some of the messages. I don’t think we expected it because we are so new,” Compton said. “It’s given us the ability to keep going and reinvigorated us. We were really down this morning.”