"in nerds we trust."
Jacob Huston - COO & Head Brewer
Jacob started with Empirical early 2016 as the Assistant Brewer. With the growth of Empirical, Jacob also grew into the Head Brewer position in early 2017 and took over as COO in early 2018. Before Jacob was at Empirical he worked a six year stint in the restaurant/bar industry working various positions such as server, bartender, beverage director and general management. His brewing experience consists of over ten years of homebrewing, two years of volunteering at various breweries around Chicago and a couple classes at the Seibel Institute of Technology. A “native” of both Colorado and Chicago. If he’s not brewing you will most likely find him outdoors, on his bicycle, checking out a new food joint, or in a movie theatre nerding out. Lover of clean, well made lagers, wild ales and a good hazy.
Julia Astrid Davis - Brewer
Julia joined Empirical as a brewer in early 2017. Her professional brewing experience spans seven years, five breweries and two continents. After getting into homebrewing and deciding that office work wasn't for her, she attended the International Diploma Course at the Siebel Institute while volunteering with Metropolitan Brewing in 2010. She spent 2011 working as head brewer of Søgaards Bryghus in Denmark, after which she returned to Chicago in 2012 to work for Goose Island. In late 2013, she became a brewer at Lagunitas to help open their Chicago facility, but later decided she enjoys smaller-scale brewing the most and made the move to Empirical. Julia continues to homebrew in her spare time, and also enjoys producing music, cross-stitching, and reading whatever she can get her hands on. Her favorite styles of beer are stouts, pilsners and IPAs, but there's not a style she doesn't enjoy. She loves the confluence of science, craft and history that brewing offers as a calling. You can recognize her by looking for the girl with the most unnaturally vibrant hair color in the brewery.
Amy Czarkowski - taproom and management
Amy joined the Empirical family in March 2017 and officially became Taproom and Event Manager in mid-2018. She graduated in 2015 from the Illinois Institute of Technology with a major in architectural design and a specialization in film and photography. After working in an architectural model making facility for a couple of years, she decided that she needed a major change of pace and landed at Empirical as a bartender. And the rest is history. She has a hard time sitting still and thrives on multitasking, so in her free time she’ll knit, embroider, read, and do freelance design and photography work while watching true crime documentaries and horror movies. She’s incredibly proud of being a Chicagoan and loves how much pride we take in our beer and food. Her favorite beer styles are doppelbocks and stouts, and loves a good Delirium Tremens when it's time to get nuts.
Myles hutto - sales manager
Myles first experienced craft beer through the Asheville, NC scene while getting his degree in professional writing at Western Carolina University. He relocated from Charleston, SC to Chicago in 2011 as a writer and performer, to train at the Second City Theatre. He was on the marketing team that launched Lagunitas Chicago and helped develop their beloved tour program. He performed stand up at Great American Beer Festival in 2015 and has since helped work on Chicago launches for Tocayo Brewing, Ravinia Brewing and Ballast Point Brewing Company. In addition to beer, Myles is a huge bourbon fan who enjoys touring breweries and distilleries anytime possible. The Edgewater resident loves road trips, antiquing, and his black lab Ryder.
Bill Hurley - Owner & CEO
Bill came up with the ridiculous idea to start Empirical in 2011. His life was too easy working for a big company in Chicago, picking stocks to make rich people richer. He had the crazy notion that he would enjoy being an entrepreneur, creating jobs and giving back to the community. He also loved the idea of making everyone call him “Overlord” and bowing when he entered the room. However, running the brewery has aged him terribly. Empirical struggles along on the edge of survival and verge of success. When not working, he likes to sleep and play with his 2-year-old son, the future “Boss". Mainly they focus on playing with trains, because that’s the only thing his son cares about. Bill is hands-on and he would ideally spend his week working with the brewers, spending time behind the bar, repairing stuff around the brewery, working in the field on distribution, and doing the paperwork for the brewery whenever absolutely necessary. His wife is a very patient woman.
Eric oren - MARKETING, social & content creator
Eric Oren is a content creator, comedian and actor based in Chicago. He is a graduate of the Second City conservatory who spent years touring the Midwest and Northeast regions as a professional Standup comedian before his creative project, a comedy/music group named Handsome Naked (recently seen on NBC's Bring the Funny and the Billboard top 10 comedy charts), began touring nationally. He co-wrote and performed in several Second City revues, as well as acted as house emcee/producer/talent booker for multiple successful open mics and showcases at clubs like the pH Comedy Theater and The Annoyance Theater before turning his attention to audio visual production and filmic storytelling. Eric expanded his production portfolio by creating branded content for corporate clients like Habitat for Humanity, Lululemon, Chicago's Social Media week, GrubHub and more. His work in visual media even paved his way to NYU's illustrious Graduate film program. Eric currently spends his time performing comedy, freelancing as a writer, creative/script consultant, director, videographer or sound recordist whenever he isn't pulling bingo numbers, hosting the Empirical open mic or helping out around the Brewery!
Krystin Fuller - Taproom
The only thing Krystin loves more than beer are cats and helping people, so naturally she was drawn to Empirical. She is a veteran to the service industry, first making her mark in the BOH, specializing in pastries. She helped in canning at Lake Effect, managed Atlas Brewing which ventured into Burnt City Brewing, where she created craft beer cocktails and beer infused desserts. Between brewery jobs she worked as a GM, but eventually missed being around beer. She was apart of the Ballast Point Brewing opening in the West Loop, but aimed to work at smaller operating breweries, and eventually fell upon Empirical. There she runs the taproom and tends bar. In her spare time she plays the harmonica, practices yoga, and writes poetry, screenplays and non-fiction. She is also a Clinical Massage Therapist and just graduated from The Soma Institute. Her favorite Marvel Superhero is Groot.