Great Revivalist Brew Lab Moving Operations To Old Clinton Church
Residents in Clinton will soon have a brewery they won't need to travel too far to get to. Great Revivalist Brew Lab announced they are expanding their operations to Clinton and plan to revitalize an old church campus. The move will also come with a slight name change and many excited people.
In a press release on Tuesday, the City of Clinton and the owners of Great Revivalist Brew Lab announced that they will be moving their operational hub to Clinton and will operate as Great Revivalist Brewery (GRB).
The location of GRB will be the former Bethel African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church at 238 4th Avenue South. The church will be preserved and transformed into a restaurant and brewery thanks to Great Revivalist Brew Lab owner Richard Swab. Below is the front of the former A.M.E. church.
GRB will also take the former Bethel A.M.E Church property at 303-307 South 3rd Street and repair and rehabilitate it to be used for storage, city officials say.
In the press release, officials say that Great Revivalist Brewery owner, Richard Schwab, was drawn to the former church at 238 4th Avenue South due to its historical and cultural significance. Schwab will be preserving the stained-glass windows and the original copy of an Italian tile fresco as well as repurposing wood from the pews to make tables.
Schwab is also ready to undertake the needed repairs to preserve and save 303-307 South 3rd Street, which had fallen into a state of disrepair, according to the city.
Ourquadcities.com reports that Schwab wants to also purchase the church property at 311 South 3rd Street to turn it into an event space and conference area. Negotiations with the owner of the property are still ongoing.
Bethel African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church History
The church at 303-307 South 3rd Street was the first African American church in Clinton. Elizabeth Fairfax, a former slave, and mother of 11 children helped raise the $600 needed for the construction of the church by selling books. The father of Clinton High School and Iowa Hawkeye football great, and the NFL's first black lineman (Rock Island Independents), Duke Slater, was one of the pastors of the Bethel AME Church (at that time the African Methodist Episcopal Church).
The church at 238 4th Avenue South was originally St. John’s Episcopal Church, with construction starting in 1898. The church has an original copy of an Italian tile fresco in that was done by an Italian artist. Bethel AME operations transitioned to the 238 4th Avenue South church in 2007. Unfortunately, operations were not able to resume after the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The vision of Richard Schwab and Great Revivalist Brewery (GRB) fits amazingly well into the transformation that has been ongoing in the City of Clinton," said Clinton City Administrator, Matt Brooke. "GRB is a top-tier producer of soda and ale but also provides top-notch lunch and dinner seven days a week. GRB is respected in their field and will create an exceptional destination point in the city and for all of eastern Iowa.”
Clinton's Mayor, Scott Maddasion, is excited for GRB to expand to Clinton. "We are extremely excited to welcome Great Revivalist Brewery to Clinton. I would like to thank Great Revivalist, the City Staff, and our Downtown team for working quickly and diligently to bring this project to fruition," continued Maddasion. "The remodel and revitalization of the historic churches in our community to house their business will not only add value to our downtown but help to preserve the history we hold so dear in Clinton. Our community has been eager to add a brewery in town and this partnership truly is a match made in heaven. We look forward to this location as a destination not only for our citizens but for those all around the area."
Ourquadcities.com reports that GRB is hoping to be open in Clinton by the end of this year. Great Revivalist will continue to operate their Brew Lab at their Geneseo, IL location (1225 S Oakwood Ave). You can learn more about Great Revivalist here.