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St. Nicholas From Hotel to Brewery

Aug 10, 2017 Food & Beverage

After taking over the vacant St. Nicholas Hotel, Abby Ancell shifted the building's focus from beds to beers.

From the early 1800s, the St. Nicholas Hotel served as a long-standing refuge for travelers passing through the Southern Illinois town of Du Quoin. Often coming by train, thousands of people stopped there to lay their heads or meet for drinks—making it a melting pot for cultures from Illinois and beyond. The building's doors closed in 2005, destined to be abandoned, but rather than see the historic site demolished, Abby Ancell saw new potential in the building. Inspired by the Hotel's history as a gathering place for both travelers and residents, she turned the storied structure into Du Quoin's new watering hole, eatery, and meet-up spot.


Pairing her passions for beer, bikes, and food with a mind open to new ideas, Abby came in touch with James McCoy, who also shared an affinity for bikes and brews. In 2014, the duo's shared interests formed the pillars that uphold St. Nicholas Brewery’s unique place in craft beer culture. As the brewmaster, James calls on the flavors of his region to produce weekly beer variants that give the people of Du Quoin just one more reason to toast their town. Along with the beers, St. Nicholas Brewing also serves food such as artisinal pizza. (Though James will often pop his hand-selected hops into the oven to imbue them with a toasted flavor.)

Beer cylinders Food Two men

While the St. Nicholas Hotel was once a hub for travelers passing through Southern Illinois, St. Nicholas Brewery has become a center of Illinois' craft brewery scene. Stop in and admire the bicycle-adorned walls as you wait for a pizza and a pint of handcrafted beer that's truly Illinois Made.

Discover more Illinois makers at Illinois Made.

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