How we got here
Founded in 2011 by co-owners Seth Rivard and Jeff Sheehan, Rockford Brewing Company started as a pipe dream. Upon finding great support and excitement from the community, Seth & Jeff quickly realized they were onto something. After months of planning and a long summer of countless cases of Hamm’s and grueling construction in the summer heat, the pub doors finally opened in December 2012.
We quickly earned recognition for our true-to-style mainstay beers and seasonal rotating tap selection. As brewmaster, Jeff has maintained an insistence on quality while refining his craft over decades of experience across the country. High praise for our beer began rolling in, highlighted by Rogue River Brown being awarded its first Bronze Medal at the 2015 Great American Beer Festival (GABF).
Our pursuit of excellent beer was always paired with a desire to serve food to match. We took a huge step forward with the unveiling of our in-house kitchen in the Fall of 2016 - bringing a mix of classic pub fare and world flavors that reflected our values of celebrating quality ingredients sourced as locally as possible.
2017 was a banner year for the growth of RBC - topped by being awarded Best Small Brewpub and Best Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year at the GABF along with Rogue River Brown and Sheehan’s Stout both bringing home medals. Beyond the GABF awards, we launched our first packaged beer into statewide distribution with 6-packs of our flagship IPA, Hoplust, and received our first of many awards for food, drink, and culture from regional and statewide publications.
Our growth continued throughout 2018 and 2019, and more accolades followed. Our portfolio of packaged beers grew from just Hoplust to five beers being canned and distributed, reflecting the growth of our overall beer distribution statewide. We were not only meeting the growing demand for our beer; we were able to meet growing demand at the pub by nearly quadrupling our outdoor seating space.
Predating our kitchen opening in 2016, we allowed guests to order pizza from formerly-known-as Vitale's of Rockford. As our own food program grew to be an award-winning hallmark of the area, we retained belief that there is room for a classic pizza and beer combo in Rockford. That brings us full circle to our expansion: in 2020 we purchased the Vitale's building, first constructed in 1866, to bring our vision for a casual pizza pub and distillery to downtown Rockford.
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We are beyond honored for the growth and support over the years and since day one, after all, we remain: happy to be here.