Milwaukee Brewing Co. purchased, announces last day of service

Milwaukee Brewing Co. will have its final day of taproom service on Aug. 30 after announcing on social media that a new brewery will purchase the taproom at 1128 N. Ninth St. near Fiserv Forum.

The brewery posted the announcement to its Twitter page Tuesday afternoon. The purchaser’s name has not yet been revealed.

“We want to send out a very heartfelt thank you to all of you that have enjoyed our tours and taproom over the years,” the brewery said in a statement. “You might have learned something about innovative brewing, sustainable manufacturing or Milwaukee’s amazing beer history while sampling fresh beer brewed with a passion.”

Sources close to the brewery told the Milwaukee Business Journal that a buyer, which will be announced next week, will purchase the brewery assets, the brewing equipment and the Ninth St. brewing facility. Milwaukee Brewing’s production team has been offered positions at the new brewery. reported Tuesday that the buyer is Chicago’s Pilot Project Brewing Co.. The Milwaukee Business Journal contacted the Chicago brewery, and the brewery declined to comment.

Pilot Project Brewing is located in Chicago at 2140 N. Milwaukee Ave. Its website lists the facility as a “brewery incubator, tasting room and cafe” that serves as a “launch pad for start-up breweries,” The facility assists breweries through tweaking recipes, beer production, business development, marketing and distribution. The breweries Pilot Project currently works with includes Los Angeles-based Flora Brewing, Oak Park, Illinois-based Funkytown Brewery and Chicago-based Azadi Brewing Co.

In addition, sources close to the brewery said another local brewery is close to purchasing the Milwaukee Brewing brand and intellectual property, which would include Milwaukee Brewing Co.’s well-known beers such as Louie’s Demise. Under this proposed purchase, Milwaukee Brewing Co. brand would remain, though brewed at a different facility with different owner.

Milwaukee Brewing Co. founder Jim McCabe opened MKE Brewing in 1997. He also opened the Milwaukee Ale House at 233 N. Water St. that same year. The Milwaukee Ale House announced earlier this month it is closing on Sept. 11.

In May of 2019, McCabe stepped down as CEO to focus on marketing and product development. David Hock, a longtime vice president of New Berlin-based distributor Beechwood Sales & Service, became the brewery’s president and CEO.

In March of 2020 under Hock’s leadership, MKE Brewing formed a joint venture with Boston-based beverage manufacturer Sup to create the Drink Design Collective, which will expand the company’s beverage portfolio into the total alcohol space. The beer division remained MKE Brewing.

Although MKE Brewing did not disclose who purchased the taproom, it indicated in the online press release that “their innovation in the craft brewing industry, passion for sharing beer with others and creativity make them the perfect brewery to take over the space.”

MKE Brewing announced in March 2022 that it was engaging with California-based New Mill Capital on the potential sale of the production brewery and ale house. This would include the equipment, intellectual property and book of business.

New Mill Capital is a national asset disposition firm that specializes in selling manufacturing equipment and real estate. It has nearby offices in Illinois and Michigan.

Most recently, New Mill Capital had listed MKE Brewing as a “pending sale” on its website.

MKE Brewing will have an open house to celebrate its final day of taproom service on Aug. 30 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The event will include timed tappings of speciality beers.

The brewery announced that it will accept all “Beer On Us” tour tokens through Aug. 30. MKE Brewing is also extending the unlimited sampling window for brewery tours by 15 minutes with samplings now ending a half hour after the tour concludes.

Another popular MKE Brewing component, its Crate Club, will have its final event on Aug. 26 from 5-9 p.m. and Aug. 28 from 12-6 p.m. Crate Club allows consumers to purchase a crate for $5. With that crate, consumers can then purchase up to 20 beers for a flat rate of $17. Customers can either keep their crate as a souvenir or exchange it for an additional free beer. MKE Brewing will offer popular beers including Outboard, Louie’s Demise, Hop Freak, O-Gii, MKE IPA and other speciality beers.

“We will cherish every toast, smile and especially every friend we made throughout the years. It has been an honor to serve you and to be part of this city,” MKE Brewing said in the press release.

The brewery ended on a note that could indicate the continuation of the MKE Brewing brand in some capacity saying “Cheers (for now)!” in the release.

Margaret Naczek, Milwaukee Business Journal

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