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A brand new brewery called Sturdy Shelter Brewing is looking to debut in Downtown Batavia, located at 10 Shumway Ave.
What started as a hobby has become a full-time business from husband/ wife duo Frank and Diane Mercadante. Diane bought Frank a home brewing kit for his 40th birthday, and he has since placed in several beer competitions. Now, the owners hope to use the new brewery as a refuge for people, as Frank has run the St. Charles-based Catholic youth-ministry nonprofit Cultivation Ministries since its founding in the early 1990s. The couple, along with general manager Oliver Bulley, hopes to open the new brewery later this summer.
Frank realized this dream of his after several years of trial and error in brewing beer at home. After the encouragement of friends and family, he decided to become serious about the hobby and turn it into a full-time profession. To prove his skills, Frank entered several beer festivals, eventually earning first place in the “Spice, Herb or Vegetable” category in the 2020 Drunk Monk Challenge held at Two Brothers Brewery in Aurora with his “Three Amigos Mexican Imperial Milk Stout.” After working as the lead brewer for Burning Bush Brewery for a year and a half, Mercadante is ready to try his hand with his own brewery.
“We wanted to be a place where people could gather,” Mercadante tells Shaw Local. “We had discussed so many names, and we finally came to the conclusion of let’s call it ‘Sturdy Shelter.’ Our brewery is a little bit of a hybrid business. It’s a place where you can belong, you can connect with others. We want to do a lot of different events.”