About Us

Grandpa Bill's WWII photo

Our Story

Beer grounded in tradition, inspired by enthusiasm!

Black Lung Brewing Co. is an alternating proprietorship that will be brewing and distributing out of a Waukegan location later this year.Post WWII, my grandfather (Big Bill) went to work in the mines of Kentucky.  This was against the will of his father.   As the story goes... One day in particular he heard a “crack” above his head and ran out of the mine shaft, the whole cavern caved in. His Forman handed him a shovel and said "Billy, get back to work,” but grandpa decided to move on and move north, to Waukegan, IL. instead. This is where he would meet my grandmother (Avonell), start a 30 year career at Outboard Marine Corp., build many homes around Lake County and start this family I so love!

We all experience life changing events and usually, they spark change. In this case, it started our family! Grandpa had 8 children, 14 grandchildren and we all still live here in the Chicago Land area. That dream may have ended in an instant, in that Kentucky mine shaft.  Instead, it inspired him and created my family, his legacy. 

Black Lung Brewing Company is a brewery grounded not just in family, but their path and their story.  Beer for hard working folks (like Big Bill) and for those who enjoy it.  Beer, grounded in tradition, inspired by enthusiasm!  I’ll drink to that!  So let’s hear your story!

Thank You,
Joshua C. Grubbs

grubbs 2018 family photo

We are just getting going!

Our brewery is just getting going!  We are laying the groundwork to brew at Zum Bier in Waukegan and be in distribution starting 2019!  Our long term goal is to open up a tap room and brewery of our own in central Lake County, IL.  Brewing is a family business, so when I say "we", I mean all of us.  We will be working hard over the next two years to accomplish this achievement and bring another great brewing establishment to the Lake County area.  We hope you will try our products once in distribution and at tastings!  Come with us on our journey!

Josh and Sarah at Forbidden Root

Brewer's Message

As brewer and company president, I commit to brewing beers of the highest quality, inspired by my own tastes and the enthusiasm of our patrons, while grounded in traditional methods for quality and repetition.  Thank you for your patronage.


Joshua C G Grubbs