Lakefront Brewery Eclipses 40,000 Barrels in 2013

Due to increased distribution of its draft beer, Milwaukee’s Lakefront Brewery production grew more than 20 percent, to 40,496 barrels in 2013.

“Our Wisconsin distributors had an incredible year with on-premise draft sales,” Chris Johnson, the brewery’s marketing director said in a press release. “I was pleased with our out-of-state distributors’ enthusiasm when we gave them the option to order kegs.”

Midway through last year, the 26-year old Lakefront Brewery finally opened up draft distribution to 10 of the 35 states where it currently sells beer. Until then, wholesalers in Wisconsin, Illinois and New York were the only ones able to consistently get their hands on the brewery’s kegged product.

Meanwhile, Beer Capitol — Lakefront’s wholesaler in Milwaukee — grew the brand’s hometown sales by nearly 18 percent (237,000 total case equivalents) in 2013.

But in order to continue growing, Lakefront will need to secure a secondary brewing location. In July, brewery president Russ Kilsch told Brewbound that maximum capacity at its current facility is 50,000 barrels.

The limited space prompted the company to begin a search for new space and, at the time, Kilsch said Lakefront had obtained an option to purchase 9.3 acres of land in Milwaukee’s Menomonee Valley.

Six months later, Lakefront’s future is still uncertain. Matt Krajnak, the company’s director of communications, said Lakefront is continuing its due diligence on the potential site and expansion could still be years away.

“We know it is something that has got to happen,” he said. “We are taking it day-by-day here. We know that even if we were to maintain 10 percent growth per year, we need to get a lock on this second facility.”

The new space would be capable of churning out upwards of 300,000 barrels annually.