BREAKING: Blue Cat Brew Pub Returning To Downtown Rock Island
BREAKING NEWS: After nearly four years, the Blue Cat Brew Pub is making its return to The District in Rock Island. The classic Blue Cat beer recipes will be resurrected under a new brewer. Charlie Cole has joined the current ownership group and will take on the Head Brewer role after having been a previous brewer at five breweries including three in the Quad Cities.
Blue Cat Brew Pub was originally opened in 1994 by Dan Cleveland and his sister, Martha Cleveland. During the 1990’s the brewpub earned 11 awards in the World Beer Championships. The siblings chose to retire in 2017 and sold the business to John Timmer and Shane Scott. The new owners rebranded the business as “Big Swing Brewing” after the sale but after connecting with Charlie Cole, the ownership group made the decision to bring the Blue Cat legacy back to life.
“I’ve been heavily involved in the local brewing community since I moved to the Quad Cities in 2017. Since Blue Cat closed I always hear stories from people about how unique the place was, especially being one of the longest operating brewpubs in the state. Dan and Martha really left a legacy behind. I’m fortunate to have connected with John and Shane to take on the challenge and adventure of bringing back the Blue Cat brand. There’s so much history in this building.”
Charlie apprenticed under a German Brewmaster in St. Louis in 2016-17 and completed brewing science, operations, and business certificates from three universities over the last year and a half while working on a business plan to open his own brewery. He is also the beer blogger for Visit Quad Cities and co-hosts the weekly “What’s Tappening” beer segment on 97x with Bill Stage.
“I love being a part of the brewing community in the Quad Cities. It’s only going to continue to grow. I couldn’t imagine doing anything different or being in a different area. This brewing community is very special.” Cole said. “It’s been great to connect with Dan and ask him questions about his equipment and recipes. He’s been a huge help. I can’t wait to resurrect some classic award winning beers and come up with some new ones of my own as well.”
There are currently over a dozen breweries in the Quad Cities area with several that have opened in the last year. Even with the Covid-19 pandemic, there hasn’t been a single permanent local brewery closure.
Blue Cat Brewing Co., as the name has evolved to, will reopen with a new food menu and a full lineup of house made beers on Friday, November 5th. Until then the Big Swing Brewing Co. will remain open under current operating hours. More information including current operating hours and both food and beer menus can be found on the Big Swing Brewing Facebook page.