Article Published by the TheBeacon-News | View Article
Author: Steve Lord
Ricky Cervantes is bringing his micro-brew home.
Born and raised in Aurora, Cervantes started giving out his homemade beer to friends from his house before it got too popular to stay a home brew. Now, he hopes to come back to Aurora to open his Foreign Exchange brewpub at Cross Street and Middle Avenue, just south of the Aurora Public Library, by Christmastime.
“He grew up in Aurora, he wanted to be in Aurora,” said B.J. Patel, who handles sales and marketing for Foreign Exchange. “Luckily, we found positive vibes over there. Everybody was excited.”
The brewpub will primarily be a place for about 50 or 60 people to sit and sample Cervantes’ specialty brews, although it would have a small kitchen serving food, Patel said. Right now, Cervantes is brewing beer at a brewpub in Itasca, and has already gained a loyal customer base.
“He had a really good following,” Patel said. “People know what a quality beer he was brewing.”
And Patel said no one in the organization is worried about opening up during a pandemic, because the company has been in business for such a short time, that’s all they know.
“Our first beer came in this pandemic,” he said.
The building Foreign Exchange intends to go into is the former Yetee building. Yetee has moved to Broadway and Galena Boulevard in downtown Aurora. Patel is working with the city to get the necessary permits and licenses, and said the brewpub would like to open in December, although he said if it takes more time, February 2021 is a fallback.
Even before the brewpub gets to town, the company is joining the Aurora business community in a big way. On Monday, it is planning to make a sizable donation to the Restore Aurora Business Fund, a program being administered by Invest Aurora, the city’s not-for-profit development arm, to benefit businesses that suffered damage during the unrest of May 31 and June 1.
The money is coming from the proceeds of the sale of a Cervantes brew called Black is Beautiful, a charity effort in which Foreign Exchange is joining with at least 1,000 breweries across America.
It started after May 31 by a small brewer in Texas who makes the base brew for Black is Beautiful. Other breweries take it and add their own specialty to create their own brew. Cervantes added coffee and cinnamon to his Black is Beautiful, and it has been a hit, Patel said. And the coffee was Ugandan, supplied by Aurora’s own Endiro Coffee.
The brewers were allowed to pick their own charity to donate to, and Patel said because he lives in St. Charles, and Cervantes is in Aurora, they chose to help the affected Aurora businesses.
“We thought, if we choose one charity, why not in our own town?” Patel said.