Goose Island Beer Co. is a brewery located in Chicago. The brewery opened its doors in 1988 after John Hall took a life-changing trip to Europe, where he gained an appreciation for local beer as well as a realization that Americans did not have nearly enough options. Hall decided to open Goose Island Brewery and Brewpub on the north side of Chicago, a city classically set up for brewers; with easy and ready access to one of the largest fresh water systems in the world. What started off as a local craft brewery and brewpub in 1988 had, by 1995, become so popular in Chicago that Hall opened a larger brewery and a bottling plant. In 1992, Goose Island introduced their first Bourbon County Stout to mark the anniversary of their 1,000th batch of beer brewed, which made them one of the first breweries in the Midwest to venture into barrel-aged beer.
Initially disqualified from the Great American Beer Festival because it didn’t meet any existing style classification, Bourbon County Stout kicked off a revolution in beer. Now, some 20 years later, barrel-aged beers have enjoyed their own competitive category at G.A.B.F. for a decade, and even have their own festival, called the Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beer. Goose Island remains one of Chicago’s most productive breweries, with beers available in all 50 states and the United Kingdom.