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Mike Ditka's Vast Brand Empire Expands Into Craft Beer

By Kate Shepherd in News on Sep 4, 2015 7:20PM


Mike Ditka is kind of the Jessica Simpson of Chicago. He's used his famous name to build an empire of steak sauce, wine, restaurants, steaks (can someone taste test Ditka Steaks vs. Trump Steaks?), cigars and most notably, a kid’s clothing line. And then there was Mike Ditka Resorts Runaway Beach Club near Orlando, which received mixed reviews and is now closed.

Ditka's brand empire is now expanding into craft beer. Ditka's restaurants are teaming up with local craft brewer the South Loop Brewing Company to produce the Witka beer, a witbier brewed with the zest of more than 300 limes, according to Time Out Chicago.

SLBC beers were already a hit with Ditka Restaurants' beer buyer when the idea of a collaboration came up.

"I kind of mentioned the Witka in passing, and he said that was above his pay grade, but we thought it would be a good fit," SLBC owner Jeremiah Zimmer told Time Out.

The Witka is described as being a light, citrusy wheat beer and was designed to pair well with the pork chops at Ditka's Restaurants.

Release parties for the beer will be held at the restaurants' Gold Coast and Oakbrook locations on Sept. 14. The brew will be available for order at those locations and the Arlington Heights restaurant.

Will Ditka try the beer himself? Zimmer definitely hopes he will.

"If he comes in and tries it, that would make my year," he told Time Out. "I'll deliver a keg to his house if he wants one."