Rich Nunez of Rock Island is finally back to doing what he loves.
The art of making beer is what he talked about all the time, even when he was working in another field. But he soon will open his own craft brewery business and neighborhood bar.
“I started with Bent River. I was the bar manager. Then I became an apprentice for three years, learned how to brew, then I was head brewer from 2002 to 2008,” he said. “This has always been something I wanted to do.”
Even when Nunez was working in a pattern shop in the aerospace industry, co-workers would ask him “why I was working in a place like that when I was always talking about beer.”
But sometime next month, he and partner Neil Vigars will open Against the Grain Brewery & Alehouse in the former Mi-Pa-Nora Lamp and Shade Co. building at 1340 31st St., Rock Island.
Nunez calls it the first nano bar in the Quad-Cities, making it unlike the larger microbrewery locations.
“It is the smallest brewery that you can have,” he said. They will produce smaller amounts and be the lone outlet for the beer he makes.
“I am working on home brew systems and the alehouse portion. I don’t want to be brewing all the time,” Nunez said. “I want to get to know my clientele.”
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His plan is to make two types of beers at a time and offer them to his customers along with some craft beers that others manufacture as well as some domestic brands.
“I want to build it from the ground up,” Nunez said. “As the business grows and increases, I can make more of my own. I have my own equipment. I am trying to bring what I want and bring it into fruition. But I want to do it slowly but surely.”
In addition to the main bar area that will seat about 40, there will be a game room with pool tables, dartboards and pinball machines, he said.
“We are going to introduce a different concept to the area,” he said. “A nano brewery allows us to play around with recipes. It gives you a lot more flexibility. So, the first year we will be constantly developing new recipes so two (beers) will always be rotating.”
Hours will be 4 p.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday; 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday; 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday.