"in nerds we trust."
Jacob Huston - COO and 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.
Kevin noel - distribution leader
An Eastern Iowa Native, Kevin came to Chicago in 2013, and has been a fan and patron of Empirical since we started. He has built a very successful sales career, at global corporations like Uber and Humanscale. His claim to fame is helping launch UberEats in its first 10 major markets. However, his heart wasn't in working for major corporations. Selling things like office systems, and software left him unfulfilled. Supporting small local businesses is always something he prefered, and homebrewing had been a hobby of his for years. So when he took over the Sale Manager role in late September 2020, he was ecstatic to leave the corporate world, and move to a company he was finally passionate about. When he isn't expanding Empiricals footprint, he enjoys spending time with his dog Leon, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, board games, and a solid Call of Duty session. You can catch Kevin drinking a high ABV, DDH IPA, or a smooth peanut butter Porter. If you're in the tap room on a Tuesday or Wednesday evening, say hello to Kevin, and be sure to give Leon all the attention you can handle! We are excited for Kevin to help take Empirical to the next level.
Eric oren - MARKETING, social and 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!
camden smith - assistant brewer
By way of the service industries in Atlanta and Brooklyn, Camden came to Empirical Brewing in January 2020. He has worked in multiple aspects of the beer industry, from studying beer and fermentation science at Siebel Institute, to assisting in one-off beers, packaging, beer buying, bartending and selling cans to thirsty people. He has continued to develop his knowledge of beer and brewing science throughout his time in Chicago. Camden loves to spend his free time finding restaurants that look like they should be shut down for health code violations (always the best food) & finding something to halfway watch on Criterion & Mubi. On a day off, you can find him drinking a schlenkerla helles & reading books about philosophy and adventure. He also really loves Boston Terriers.
sara nevills - taproom
Sara joined Empirical in January 2021 tending bar and managing events. After a 20 year career leading backend operations for higher education advancement offices across the city, she decided to follow her true passion and pivot to the brewing industry. Before joining Empirical, Sara spent the summer of 2020 apprenticing at Old Irving Brewing learning how to brew beer and maintain a brew house, and from 2016-2018 she worked on events at Half Acre Beer Co. In her free time when she’s not dreaming up new beer recipes, Sara loves live music and dabbles in photography and writing. A proud mama to her 15 year old polydactyl tabby Joon (aka Bug), she can also be found volunteering at local cat rescues. A lover of all things fermented, her favorite beer styles are Belgians, dunkels, and a well made hazy.
Krystin Fuller - Taproom and merch
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.
Bill Hurley - Owner and 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. 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.