Meet Berwyn’s Entrepreneurs: Keith Huizinga of Kinslahger Brewing Company

Welcome to Meet Berwyn’s Entrepreneurs! Berwyn has become a hot spot for urban professionals, entrepreneurs and creatively minded individuals. From musicians to crafters, small business owners to dedicated team members, Berwyn is home to a remarkable group of movers and shakers who keep our community vibrant. This segment gives us a chance to get to know what makes our local leaders tick! Enjoy!

Meet Keith Huizinga of Kinslahger Brewing Company

Hometown: Coloma, MI
Current Residence: River Forest, IL
About Keith: I grew up in rural southwest Michigan and developed an interest in food and cooking early on. During my senior year in college (MSU ’91), I spent a semester in the Netherlands and learned that beer is not a flavor. There were so many flavors of beer that I decided to learn how to brew it myself upon returning home. Infatuated with the hobby, I studied to become a certified beer judge a couple years later. My wife, Susan, and I have lived in the Chicago area since 1991 and in River Forest since 2003. We have two daughters, ages 17 and 19.

The Business Side: Kinslahger is a word we created. It’s the combination of Kinship and Lager. We modified the spelling by adding an ‘H’ to lager so that the initials of the three founding partners would be represented in the name “LAH”. We all live in the area and met several years ago as part of a local homebrewing club. Through many discussions, we learned that we had a similar vision for a local production brewery specializing in lagered beers. In March of 2016, we opened the doors of our tasting room to the public for the first time. Our long-term vision is to become THE lager brewery in Chicagoland.

Describe yourself using 3 words.
Curiosity, Laughter and Lies. Curiosity is a driving force in my day to day life, I love to ask questions and learn the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’. Laughter is the spirit of life. I get immense pleasure from making people smile and laugh, frequently at my own expense. Lies….well I always lie, never tell the truth. But wait if I always lie, then when I say I always lie, I must be lying so therefore I must be telling the truth…wait, what?

What inspires you?
The drive and perseverance of the human spirit exhibited by those who have overcome hurdles to achieve happiness in their lives. The stories people tell in this regard remind me that we can achieve anything for which we are willing to work.

Tell us something that people might not know about you.
I once chucked wood with a woodchuck. You wouldn’t believe how much wood they can chuck.

What do you consider mankind’s greatest invention?
The printing press – it revolutionized the sharing of ideas and information between people across time and space. That, and beer of course.

What are you most passionate about?
Flavor. We have the luxury of being selective consumers of food and drink. I believe that we must embrace that luxury and explore deeply the opportunity to experience the wealth of diversity available to us in our daily lives.

What is the longest word you know?
Gemutlichkeit. A German word used to convey a feeling of friendliness, good cheer, peace of mind and a sense of belonging. Though I’m not of German descent, nor is our brewery intended to be a German brewery, I think of this word when attempting to describe the feeling I want our customers to experience when visiting our brewery or sharing our products with others.

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