Third Space enhancing taproom experience, celebrates Wisconsin IPAs

Third Space Brewing president and co-founder Andy Gehl says his brewery had two main goals in 2022.

One was to grow sales in the marketplace across Wisconsin. Though the craft beer industry has seen a national decline in sales, according to Gehl, Third Space continues to see growth. It is not as strong as the double-digit performance the brewery experienced earlier in the Covid-19 pandemic, but it still continues.

The other goal was to enhance the experience at Third Space’s taproom to drive more on-site revenue at its main operation at 1505 W. St. Paul Ave. in Milwaukee.

“The reason we focused on that is everyone is coming out of the pandemic. Maybe their old habits have died or changed. They are looking for their third space. Where is the place they’re going to go and hang out and have fun?” Gehl said. “There is an opportunity here to grab new loyal customers.”

Third Space made significant investments inside and outside the taproom. Inside, the brewery did a full facelift with more comfortable seating, a better sound system and warmer decor on the walls. Outside, the brewery invested in its beer garden, which now has three components: a main beer garden area, upper level with private bar, and new deck and stage.

“It’s been a record summer for us in our taproom and beer garden, which is amazing coming out of the pandemic,” Gehl said.

Third Space will use its enhanced taproom and beer garden space in one of its largest festivals of the year, the Wisconsin IPA Fest, which will be held Aug. 20 in the brewery.

“To be able to do these really fun, big events that we used to do pre-pandemic is just really invigorating,” Gehl said.

In 2021, the brewery redid the format of its Wisconsin IPA festival, making the event ticketed with unlimited samplings. Last year, the brewery saw about 600 attendees, which Gehl expects again this year.

There are 49 Wisconsin breweries participating this year. Third Space also added a DJ this year.

“The goal of the festival is focused on showcasing the great beer that’s made here in Wisconsin,” Gehl said.

There are a limited number of VIP tickets available. The VIP package includes access to five additional, limited-edition beers. The VIP ticket holders also take home a four-pack of the collaboration beer. General admission tickets are also available on Third Space’s website.

Margaret Naczek, Milwaukee Business Journal

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