Joe Chura’s banking on Go Brewing’s no- and low-alcohol beers tapping into new market in Naperville and beyond – Chicago Tribune
Much like he did for the auto sales industry, the founder of Naperville’s newest brewery Joe Chura plans to shake up the craft beer market by introducing no-alcohol and low-alcohol alternatives with the opening of Go Brewing tap this month.
The new tap room in Suite 155 of 1665 Quincy Ave. will be the first Illinois dedicated solely to low- and no-alcohol beers.
The 44-year-old Naperville entrepreneur knows how to reinvent the wheel, helping dealer bring automobile sales into the digital age.
After starting at age 20 on the Ford assembly floor, Chura worked his way up the corporate ladder, landing jobs on Ford’s regional sales team and as general manager of two dealerships, where he grew sales through the use of the internet.
His experience led him to found two tech startups in Naperville, the automotive digital platform Dealer Inspire and multi-industry Launch Digital Marketing, both of which were acquired by Cars.com in 2018 in a deal worth $165 million. He serves as chief innovation officer at Cars.com.
His latest venture — Go Brewing — targets the burgeoning demand for quality beers without the added calories and repercussions from too much imbibing.
“It allows someone to be in a social setting, enjoy a great beer and not have any side effects for the next day,” Chura said. “It is almost impossible to get intoxicated on nonalcoholic beverages. You don’t really get the hangover effect so you’re more productive.”
For the public launch of Go Brewing Oct. 15, Chura will unveil five craft beers with alcohol by volume of .5% or less and four with an ABV of 2.49% or less.
The likely flagships for the company, he said, will be the 60-calorie Suspended in a Sunbeam Pilsener — named in honor of cosmologist Carl Sagan — and the 50-calorie Burn it Down India pale ale.
Chura’s favorite, the IPA, like many of his beers, were inspired from conversations he’s had with people on his “Not Almost There Podcast,” which he produces from an audiovisual studio he’s added inside the brewery.
Burn it Down came from a quote in an interview with reality hairdressing show “Sheer Genius” star Ben Mollin, who said Chura went through a series of ups and downs in his life and more recently found solace and lost 70 pounds through ultra running.
“His message in life — you just have to burn it down and start over — so burn the bridge down and start over. There’s no going backwards,” Chura said.
He likes Burn it Down for the IPA’s hoppiness and citrus flavor, he said. “But it has literally like around one-eighth to one-tenth of the calories of a regular IPA that we drink on a normal day,” he said.
Grand opening weekend activities Oct. 15-16 will combine the typical fare — food trucks and musical entertainment — with a few surprises.
The most out-of-the-ordinary event of the weekend will be a workshop from 10 am to noon Oct. 16 on breathing techniques to reduce stress on the body and mind with the optional plunge into an ice bath for participants to show off what they’ve learned.
The session will be taught by an instructor certified in the breathing techniques of Wim Hof, a Dutch motivational speaker known as the Iceman because of his ability to withstand low temperatures.
Chura said the plunge tubs are the type of activities Go Brewing plans to host to promote health and wellness as an alternative to what exists out there in social settings.
It’s also a chance to meet like-minded people who want to try different things and “show folks that you can have a great time without alcohol,” he said.
“We really think it’s going to catch on, and the movement is clear that nonalcoholic beer is becoming more and more popular,” Chura said.
When crafting the beer, his staff avoided the popular method of brewing a full strength beer and processing the alcohol out.
“The byproduct is this fermented beverage like a sparkling beverage, and we decided not to go that route,” he said. “We wanted to honor the traditional beer-making style, but do it in such a way that we use ingredients and techniques to not create a lot of alcohol, so you end up with great flavor without, again, the kind of side effects of the alcohol.”
The market is ripe for a good, nonalcoholic option, he said.
“I can’t even name a place in Illinois that has nonalcoholic beers on tap to be honest with you,” Chura said.
For example, he attended the LIV Golf Invitational-Chicago tournament in Sugar Grove last month, and “there wasn’t one nonalcoholic option on the menu,” he said.
Chura wants to change that, and sees his beers as popular with two types of consumers.
One is for those who choose not to consume alcohol but want an option to be a part of something that feels like drinking without the negative side effects.
“I think you’re going to see that shift. You’re going to see people that maybe don’t really drink alcohol anymore, and maybe this does replace a lot of their daily habits,” Chura said.
Then there’s another group who are all about moderation.
With some craft beers reaching an ABV of 9% to 10%, he said, “those calories are correlated very closely to the alcohol content in those beers.”
Go Brewing might be the right alternative.
“You might find that it’s such a good replacement, and you’re going to have the long-term benefits of not having alcohol as much in your life.”