November 21, 2017

SBDC brings top 10 brewer Tony Magee to region

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Tony Magee, founder of the award-winning Lagunitas Brewery, will be featured in “The Business of Beer,” courtesy of Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Small Business Development Center, the university’s Economic and Regional Development and the Fermentation Science Institute.

The event, a nod to “Small Business Saturday,” is at 7 p.m. on Nov. 27 at the Route 51 Brewing Company, located on U.S. 51 in Elkville. It is free and open to the public.

The Illinois Small Business Development Center has provided services to the majority of Southern Illinois’ startup breweries.

“We’ve enjoyed being in on the ground floor of developing a new regional industry,” Greg Bouhl, center director, said. “Watching this industry start and grow has been very exciting.”

Home brew to brew master

A meet-and-greet session kicks off the evening, followed by Magee’s keynote presentation. He will tell how created a home brew and used it to launch a successful commercial brewery based in Petaluma, Calif.

Mary Bauer, the company’s head brewer, and Karen Hamilton, director of communications, will  share their experiences and expertise regarding the production of Lagunitas Brewing’s line and its distribution in the Chicago market. Katie Brown, director of digital marketing and Tony Dzuira, key account manager, are also part of the visiting Lagunitas team.

Afterward, musician Chris Slone, originally from Chicago, will “jam” with Magee, as the two deliver blues and bluegrass musical entertainment. Magee will be available to meet those in attendance and sign copies of his book, “So You Want to Start a Brewery?: The Lagunitas Story.” Autographed copies will be available for $18. Route 51 Brewing Co. will also have a special release of Lagunitas beer on tap that evening.

Supporting small business

The goal of “Small Business Saturday,” which officially takes place Nov. 25, is to encourage people to shop local and support their region and its business.

Southern Illinois is becoming well-known for its craft beer and brewing industry. “The Business of Beer” celebrates this and encourages support for local businesses, according to Robyn Laur Russell, SIU’s director of business development and international trade.

“We are thrilled with the importance of this visit by this star-studded beer expert troupe,” Russell said. “SIU and our office foster innovation and I’m hopeful some of these relationships will build into collaborative ventures.”

About SBDC International Trade Center

The Illinois Small Business Development Center/International Trade Center is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and is hosted by SIU Carbondale. To learn more about the center and the many services it provides to new and expanding businesses, visit, call 618/536-2424 or email