Lakefront Brewery Eyes Secondary Brewing Facility

Lakefront Brewery announced today that it has obtained an option to purchase 9.3 acres of land in Milwaukee’s Menomonee Valley, putting it on the growing list of craft breweries looking to open a second production facility.

“I have looked all over the city, sized everything up and this is heads and tails above all the others,” said Russ Klisch, Lakefront Brewery president. “We have to do our due diligence but I think that in six months we will know if we can acquire the property.”

Lakefront joins a handful of craft breweries, including Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, Oskar Blues, Victory Brewing, Lagunitas Brewing, Green Flash Brewing and Epic Brewing, that have built or are building secondary facilities. The Milwaukee-based brewery produces the popular gluten-free beer New Grist. It has been steadily growing since 2005, when it brewed just 6,300 barrels. Last year, Lakefront’s production increased 42 percent to 33,000 barrels. Klisch said the new space could be scaled to produce nearly 10 times that amount.

“I think we could brew 300,000 barrels in that footprint,” he said.

Klisch said he is anticipating another year of steady growth and hopes to produce over 40,000 barrels in 2013. Lakefront’s Commerce Street brewery has a maximum capacity of about 50,000 barrels and, if the company is successful in obtaining the new Menomonee Valley property, Klisch said the existing space would likely be used for new projects.

“I am looking to do specialty beers, barrel-aged beers as well as contract brewing in our current space,” he said.

If Lakefront does acquire the property, it would look to begin construction of the new brewery in late 2014 or early 2015. The initial capacity would be about 50,000 barrels, Klisch said. The total cost of the planned expansion is not yet known.

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