News - McHenry County

Lease OK’d for MobCraft Beer in Woodstock’s Old Courthouse, leaving one space left to fill

MobCraft Beer will operate a brewery and taproom out of courthouse

The Old Courthouse and Sheriff’s House is photographed Tuesday, March 1, 2022, in Woodstock. The renovation of the courthouse has started, with construction and demolition underway.

Another spot in the Old Courthouse and Sheriff’s House in Woodstock has been filled after the city approved a lease with MobCraft Beer Inc. at its meeting Tuesday.

MobCraft Beer will operate a brewery and taproom, with the hope of bringing younger people to town and offering residents “a fun new concept and experience,” according to city material.

The company currently has locations in Wisconsin and Colorado, Mayor Mike Turner said at the City Council meeting Tuesday. Its location in the courthouse will be its first in Illinois.

The new lease with the company has been a possibility for several months, as city officials have expected such an agreement since at least June.

“They’re a great organization and a great business,” Turner said. “They are an established business with an established approach.”

It’s the fourth lease to be signed for the courthouse, with the first three approved in May and June.

The first two leases were with E3 Artisan’s Ethereal Confections and the Public House of Woodstock, the latter of which has operated within the courthouse since 2014. The third was with the Woodstock Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Economic Development Director Garrett Anderson said Friday.

Ethereal Confections currently operates a smaller location on the Square, and it hopes its new spot in the courthouse will allow it to host events such as weddings.

The agreement leaves one space left to fill in the courthouse, Business Development Director Danielle Gulli said at the meeting.

The city is expected to review a proposal to fill the space at its Nov. 15 meeting, according to city documents. If the council likes what it sees, a lease could be brought forward. The organization that could go in has not yet been made public.

The spot will be for a public space area, which for a long time was expected to go to Creative Woodstock arts center, but city officials in April discussed the possibility of going in a new direction.

Gulli said the city received one application for the space, adding that although she was excited, she was “disappointed there wasn’t more.”

“It checks all the boxes of what most of you have asked for,” she said.

Other smaller operations also could open in the courthouse, but the city has not yet begun finalizing those plans, Anderson said.

The city also began renovating the restaurant space that belongs to Public House, which closed up shop in early October for renovations.

In talking about other costs associated with renovating Public House, Turner cautioned that more things may be found during the construction that “make sense to do something now versus avoid doing it.”

“Once we’ve opened up walls and once we’ve started construction, it is not a surprise there are going to be items that come up that we could not have anticipated, and they’re going to produce additional costs,” Turner said at the meeting.

The courthouse building is being renovated to the tune of $13.25 million and, along with it being modernized, will have a mix of private and public ventures that the city hopes will act as a destination for residents and tourists.

The goal has been to have the building opened by the spring.