Last Call: Milwaukee Brewing Announces Major Expansion; BrewDog Plans US Bars

MKE to lease space on site of old Pabst brewery

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Milwaukee Brewing this week announced plans to significantly expand its operations in Brew City, inking a lease agreement for 58,000 sq. ft. of space on the site of the original Pabst brewery.

In addition to the brewing space, the 170,000 sq. ft. building — which is no longer owned by Pabst Brewing Company – could eventually include 85,000 sq. ft. of storage and 28,000 sq. ft. of office space, the company said via a press release.

The expansion is intended to ease production pressure at the company’s location on 2nd Street in Milwaukee.

“We believe in this city and always look for opportunities to invest in up-and-coming areas as with the 1997 opening of the Ale House in the 3rd Ward and our packing and brewing facilities in Walker’s Point,” Milwaukee Brewing Co. founder Jim McCabe said in the release. “We saw huge development around us in those areas and given the quality of this new location, we expect the same here.”

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The space will initially be used for warehousing and cold storage, but a brewery that will eventually be capable of producing upwards of 70,000 barrels annually and a large tasting room are also planned.

“With the pressure of producing beer under the name of our great city, we are extremely proud that MKE Brewing will be a part of the new Brew City, while still paying homage to its roots,” McCabe said via the release.

Sales are up 30 percent in 2016, according to the company, but MKE is butting up against capacity constraints at its existing 50-barrel brewing and packaging facility.

BrewDog plans to invest $22 million to open U.S. brewpubs


One of the key components of BrewDog’s success overseas has been its ability to vertically integrate, expanding its retail operations from just one location in 2010 to 44 in operation at last count.

And while strict three-tier laws will undoubtedly prove to be a bigger hurdle stateside, the Scottish beermaker reportedly plans to spend about half of the $50 million it is currently trying to crowdfund to build out a number of BrewDog-branded bars in the U.S., according to a report from restaurant briefing service Propel Info.

“As in Europe, our bars enable us to sell more beer, increase our visibility, build our community, and grow our brand,” the company wrote in its crowdfunding brochure. “We intend to sell around 10% of the beer we brew from our Columbus brewery in our own BrewDog bars and this element of vertical integration will help accelerate our growth, bolster our profitability and foster deeper connections between us and our customers.”

Diageo renames US beer business


In an effort to “convey Diageo’s brewing credentials and commitment to the broad category of premium beer,” the company last week announced that it would change the name of its beer business from Diageo-Guinness USA to Diageo Beer Company USA.

“Diageo Beer Company USA will be a forward-thinking premium beer company, rooted in our brewing heritage and focused on brands, customers and consumers,” Tom Day, the group’s president, said in a release. “While Guinness will of course continue to play an essential role in our beer portfolio, the new Diageo Beer Company USA name will help highlight the contributions and potential of our other great brands like Smirnoff Ice, Smithwick’s and Harp.”

Diageo will increase its investment in the Smitwick’s and Harp brands and continue to innovate within the flavored malt beverage category, it said in the release.

As part of its “renewed focus” on the entire U.S. beer portfolio, and not just Guinness, Diageo will partner with ad man Steve Grasse – the architect of brands like Hendrick’s Gin and Sailor Jerry — to create new hard soda line called Quaker City Malting Co..

Diageo also said it would launch a new “Smirnoff Spiked Sparkling Seltzer” line and collaborate with Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton on a new Smitwick’s variant.

“More and more, American beer drinkers are interested in experimenting with new styles and brands. That’s evident with the continued proliferation of craft beers and traditional flavored malt beverages, as well as the rise of hard sodas, spiked seltzers and ciders,” Day said in the release. “We’re confident that those consumers will love the high quality and variety of our new offerings from Smithwick’s, Smirnoff Ice and Quaker City Malting Co., and as always, we will be encouraging consumers to enjoy our products responsibly.”