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Albany Park

Twisted Hippo Searches For A New Home After Fire Destroyed Its Albany Park Brewery

“We’re working really hard to find a space as close to our original location as possible,” the brewery's co-owner said.

CFD responds after a massive fire destroyed Twisted Hippo Brewery, Ultimate Ninjas Gym and an apartment building near the corner of Montrose Avenue and Richmond Street early Feb. 21, 2022 in Albany Park.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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ALBANY PARK — Twisted Hippo’s owners are trying to find a new location in Albany Park as they recover from a fire that destroyed the popular craft brewery’s home.

The brewery’s building at 2925 W. Montrose Ave. burned down in February, ending its time at the spot it had called home since 2019. Chicago’s craft beer community has rallied around Twisted Hippo with fundraisers — but owners Marilee and Karl Rutherford are facing challenges as they try to find a new home for the business.

The owners are navigating the insurance process, and it’s been challenging to find a new spot because the kind of space they need is limited in Albany Park. Once Twisted Hippo does find a new home, it could take months to get proper licenses and rebuild the brewery, Marilee Rutherford said.

“We’re working really hard to find a space as close to our original location as possible,” Marilee Rutherford said. “I would not expect that we will have our own dedicated space to open again before the year is out. But if we can get producing before then we’re certainly going to.”

Credit: Alex Hernandez/ Block Club Chicago
Twisted Hippo’s 2925 W. Montrose Ave. location before the fire destroyed the building.

Marilee Rutherford was going through photos of the brewery recently for insurance, and she had to “put up an emotional wall” when seeing how the now-demolished brewery looked before the fire, she said.

“That was tough. What we had was phenomenal, but it doesn’t exist anymore. But we can do something else somewhere else, and it’s going to be great,” she said.

Twisted Hippo isn’t brewing for now, but they hope to get back to that by mid-summer. Marilee Rutherford said she’s still working out the details.

In the meantime, fans can still get Twisted Hippo: Its crew salvaged a small amount of canned beer from the building’s wreckage. They cleaned the cans and made sure their contents were safe, Marilee Rutherford said.

“It’s a very small amount of beer we saved, and we’re using it very judiciously,” Marilee Rutherford said.

Twisted Hippo is bringing its salvaged Black Umbrella oatmeal rye stout and Takes All Shapes brown ale to Albany Park’s Northwest Brewfest April 30.

“We want to continue to be part of the community however we can. And this festival is a really good chance to reconnect with people and say hi,” Marilee Rutherford said. “I just can’t get over how, how supportive everybody has been. It’s so phenomenal and really is a lot of motivation to keep us going.” 

Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
A massive fire destroyed Twisted Hippo Brewery, Ultimate Ninjas Gym and an apartment building near the corner of Montrose Avenue and Richmond Street early Feb. 21, 2022 in Albany Park.

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