Protect Precious Beer Grain From Rats
By Patty Wetli | October 30, 2015 8:20am
RAVENSWOOD — If you’re a brewery and you’ve got rodents chewing through 50-pound bags of expensive grain, who you gonna call?
Meet Venkman, Raymond, Egon and Gozer — Empirical Brewery’s “Ghostbusters”-named feral cat colony, adopted in December through the Tree House Humane Society’s Cats at Work program.
“If a brewer says they don’t have rats, they’re lying,” said Bill Hurley, owner of Empirical, 1801 W. Foster Ave.
Rodents are attracted to the extremely high-quality grain that breweries stock by the truckload. To the rats, it’s like a “giant block of cheese,” Hurley said.
Empirical hired an exterminator to pay regular visits to the brewery, but still found itself throwing money out the window in the form of gnawed-on bags of barley.
Enter Tree House, which has moved 264 feral cats within Chicago and 130 in the suburbs, according to Jenny Schlueter, manager of Cats at Work.