Author Serves Up a “Beery” View of Chicago’s History

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Tour of Al Capone’s wildcat breweries and other pre-prohibition brewery sites tells the story that history books ignore.

The Chicago Breweries & Saloons Tour offers a unique look at Old Chicago

As bookstores make ready in early May for the release of BEER: A History of Brewing in Chicago (Barricade Books, $24.95) by nationally recognized beer and brewing expert Bob Skilnik, the author is now offering a five-hour bus tour of the dwindling number of former Chicago brewery sites that have missed the wrecker’s ball. His soon-to-be released hardcover book includes an abbreviated tour for readers who want to visit some of the famous, and infamous, relics on their own. Skilnik, however, now offers an expanded guided bus tour that promises to entertain and inform anyone who wants to know more about this ignored part of Chicago’s history.

Highlights of the tour include stops at:

  • Two former Al Capone wildcat brewery sites.
  • A look at the infamous “2222” site that bootleggers Johnny Torrio and Al Capone first called their headquarters. Rumor has it that at least 12 gangsters were killed in the basement of this now-destroyed building for betraying the kingpins of Chicago’s bootlegging industry.
  • Various local buildings that once housed some of Chicago’s most famous breweries.
  • Former Schlitz “tied-house” saloons, some still in all their pre-Prohibition glory.
  • A visit to the resting places of some of Chicago’s most famous brewers, including the pyramidal mausoleum of Peter Schoenhofen.
  • And much more.

"The Chicago Breweries & Saloons Tour offers a unique look at Old Chicago," says Skilnik. All too often, we pass by buildings, unaware of their history or significance. While people might enjoy seeing the seamy underside of the old local brewing industry, I think it’s more important for folks to understand the profound impact that the industry once had on the social, political, and economic development of Chicago and its citizens. The local brewing industry and its contributions to the Windy City have long been ignored in traditional history books.”

Find more information about The Chicago Breweries & Saloons Tour at
Groups of 35 to 50 people can be accommodated on a climate-controlled bus with toilet facilities.


A freelance writer and lecturer from the Chicago area, Bob Skilnik is a certified brewer and nationally recognized beer and brewing expert. He is the author of five previous titles. He has written for the Chicago Tribune, the American Breweriana Association's Journal and the National Association of Breweriana Advertising's Breweriana Collector magazine. The author has worked with the Smithsonian Institution and the Chicago Historical Society as a lecturer and tour guide featuring Chicago's once powerful brewing industry. Skilnik has also appeared on ABC’s ‘The View,’ the Fox News Channel, ESPN2, and Chicago’s WTTW.


Bob Skilnik


P.O. Box 793

Plainfield, IL 60544

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