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Cademon Brewing Co. plans move to House Cafe basement

The House Cafe in DeKalb could have a new downstairs neighbor this August if relocation plans by Genoa-based Cademon Brewing Co. are successful.

Cademon owner Andrew Nordman said he plans to close the downtown Genoa location and open a brewpub in the space below The House Cafe, which can be accessed through the cafe or via its own Third Street entrance.

The plan will come before the DeKalb Planning and Zoning Committee at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the DeKalb Council Chambers, 200 S. Fourth St.

The move would come about half a year after a crowdfunding campaign raised more than $20,000 for the downtown Genoa brewery and taproom to reopen after unpaid taxes cost the business its liquor license in November.

Cademon Brewing Co. first opened at 217 W. Main St. in December 2014, offering customers the opportunity to sit and drink a pint of home-brewed beer while observing the beer production. It reopened in January and now is scheduled to close June 25.

Nordman said he realized it was time to shift business models after reopening. His initial goal for the small-town location was to focus on distribution, but the payoff hasn’t been what was expected.

“We didn’t grow aggressively enough to be able to compensate for being in a smaller town,” he said.

He said the DeKalb location still would have a taproom, but it also would have a smaller brewing area and be oriented toward selling bottles and cans of beer to go.

“We’re going to still be handling distribution, but I’m not aiming to be the next revolution when I boil it down,” Nordman said. “When I started this place, I wanted within five years to be a large regionally distributed brewery; that doesn’t make any sense to me in the current climate.”

Disagreements with his landlord also contributed to the desire to relocate, Nordman said, and the perfect opportunity seemed to fall into place when The House Cafe owners reached out to him about potentially using their basement space for brewing.  

House Cafe owner Mark “Pepe” Robinson said a brewery would attract more people to downtown DeKalb businesses, and Cademon brewers have the passion and dedication to the art to make that happen.

“We’re pretty excited about it,” Robinson said. “Not only as a big boom for our business having the draw of a local brewery within our own establishment, but also as a big push to help the downtown area recuperate.”

Nordman said the DeKalb location would offer core Cademon beers to go at all times, and a few beers also could be served upstairs at the House Cafe. New brews he has been working on include gluten-free beers inspired by his wife’s diagnosis of celiac disease, he said.

“I don’t necessarily need you to like every beer that I have, but I want a beer for everybody, so I brew the rainbow,” Nordman said.

Nordman said most of the work that’ll need to be done to the space involves aesthetic changes, and he intends to give it a “speakeasy vibe.”

“We’re more of a place that people tell you, ‘Oh, have you been to that place?’ rather than being a huge destination out in front of everybody,” he said.

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