Blue Cat Opens Temporarily So Award Winning Beer Doesn’t Go to Waste
"Our kitchen may be closed, but we don’t want all of this award-winning beer to go to waste. We will be temporarily open next week 1/16-1/20 from 3pm-8pm for bar service only.
$5 draft pours, $10 growler fills.
Blue Cat Brewing Company Closes Its Doors
The Blue Cat Brewing Company, a popular brew pub located in downtown Rock Island, closed its doors on New Year's Eve 2022. Despite the brewery's recent success at the World Beer Championship, where they received six awards for their different beers, the decision to close was not based on poor beer quality.
Reasons for Closure
In a statement made by Brewmaster Charlie Cole on Facebook in December, the brewery cited a lack of restaurant management and damage from a burst water pipe as the reasons for their closure. It is currently unclear if the closure is temporary or permanent.
Awards and Accolades
The Blue Cat Brewing Company originally opened as Crooked River Brew Pub in 1994, under the ownership of brother and sister Dan and Martha Cleveland. The brewery thrived as a popular destination for unique food, entertainment, and award-winning beer until an ownership change in 2017. The brewery has received many awards over the years, most notably a dozen World Beer Championship awards between 1994 and 2001.
The World Beer Championship is conducted by the Beverage Testing Institute, a Chicago-based organization of industry experts. The competition is America's longest-running international alcohol beverage evaluation platform. In the 2023 results, the brewery received one bronze, four silver, and one gold medal for a mix of new and classic Blue Cat recipes. The gold medal was awarded to "Papa Bear," a peat-smoked scotch ale named after Brewmaster Charlie Cole's grandfather.
Brewmaster Charlie Cole has been operating as the GM and Brewmaster since joining the ownership group in the Fall of 2021. Despite his success on the production side of the business, he has noted that operating a restaurant is something he was unprepared to do. "We tried hiring different managers to run the restaurant but no one worked out and I ended up having to do that work on top of running the brewery. We kind of just ran out of options to continue operating."
The closure of Blue Cat Brewing Company is a sad occasion for beer lovers and fans of the brewery. While the future of the brewery remains uncertain, the awards and accolades it received serve as a testament to the quality of its beer and the dedication of its brewmaster and staff.
Does This Cat have Another Life?
In the press release sent, it says, "the brewmaster is hopeful that an interested party looking to take over the restaurant operations will come along soon and hopefully give “The Cat” another life."
My fingers are crossed that someone jumps on board!