It seemed appropriate to wrap up these three days of immersion in local foods with a local cocktail, so I made my final stop of the expo at the panel on “drinking locally.”

The last couple of years have been booming for Chicago brewers and distillers. Half Acre opened its own brewery in Lincoln Square, Metropolitan Brewing and neighboring Koval Distillery both hit the ground running in 2009, and Revolution Brewing threw open its doors last month to almost unmanageable crowds. As moderator and Goose Island brewmaster Greg Hall pointed out, the last time the city’s seen this many brewery and booze start-ups was probably right after the repeal of Prohibition.