Updated: Jan 7
by Kristen Kucharski
FAMILY OF FIVE SHARES ON LIFE, LOVE AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP
GENEVA/NAPERVILLE–Take that trip, do the adventure, explore, and live your life to the fullest - “Always Go” – that is the motto Geneva residents, John and Ashley Barley and their three children Declan (11), Scout (3), and Banks (1) – and what an adventure it has been as the owners of Solemn Oath Brewery in Naperville which opened in 2012.
As entrepreneurs their free time has been consumed by the brewery but through Solemn Oath they remain wildly active. Each year they work with dozens of charitable organizations across Chicagoland including the Naperville Parks Foundation, the Naperville Area Humane Society, and many others. This year during the pandemic they also had the opportunity to work with some fantastic organizations including My Block, My Hood, My City and Grocery Run Club. Beyond that, they would typically be either travelling or driving to and from Declan's hockey games across the Midwest with the Geneva Cyclones youth hockey organization.
In March, many things changed for the Barley family. John lost his father, best friend, and business partner to cancer right when the world was shutting down and the business dynamic had to shift dramatically. The market for 60% of their on-premises draft sales had disappeared like a light switch and they had to adapt quickly to survive as a business.
Although the year has been a year filled with punch after punch after punch, the Barley’s maintain their “just do it” attitude and persisted on with the camaraderie, hustle, and love of their patrons, family, and each other.
With the support of the City of Naperville, in June they built a massive outdoor space called the Solemn Oath Community Beer Garden providing plenty of space for social distancing. Now during the winter months, it has been converted to a majestic forest fairy tale called the Solemn Oath Community Dome Forest.
The Barley’s always live life to its fullest! Like many, the pandemic has given them a lot more time together, but the nature of their business does not allow for working remotely; however, whenever they are at home as a family, the music is on and every single person is singing and dancing…..“it breeds confidence, humor, and support of each other.”
Photos by Mike Catuara