Third Space finds growth despite challenging environment: Beer Biz MKE

The year 2023 has not been good for craft beer. According to data from a Brewers Association survey, craft beer volume is down an estimated 2% following many years of growth throughout the country.

Third Space Brewing Co., however, continues to find growth despite what co-owner Andy Gehl called a very challenging market.

“Craft beer is down, but we are still finding a way to outperform the market here at Third Space,” he said.

Third Space Brewing is located in Milwaukee’s Menomonee Valley neighborhood at 1505 W. St Paul Ave.

Gehl attributed the success to both a diverse brand mix and a high-level production team that focuses on quality control. Gehl believes putting out a consistent product has allowed Third Space to stay ahead of the curve. For example, the brewery boasts a core flagship beer, Happy Place, which Gehl estimated brings in about 55% of beer sales.

“We’ve still managed to stay market leaders, and we’re really proud of that,” Gehl reflected.

He added that Third Space does continue to explore the possibility of a second location. He had no additional information to share but stated that was something “that’s being worked on.”

Currently, Third Space is budget planning for 2024. The brewery has already decided its brand calendar lineup for 2024, which it plans to share soon.

“We’re always looking at trends, what might be on a multi-year decline as a brand that we may want to shake up with a new brand, or what styles are growing and where is there a hole in our lineup that we want to fill,” Gehl said. “We sell a lot of beer across a wide range of styles, so we’re always trying to see what might be missing or what is underperforming that could be replaced with something else.”

The two biggest additions to the 2023 lineup were a new rotating lager series that focused more on traditional European lager styles. That series replaced Third Space’s Light It Up craft lager. Gehl said Third Space sold more beer in its lager series than it did of just Light It Up. Some of the beers in that mix were a Maibock, Helles and German pilsner.

The other change was the addition of Third Space’s Smile, which is a citrus wheat ale, which Gehl said will return in 2024.

He added that there will be two new year-round beers that will be released in 2024.

Molson Coors donates to MATC and MSOE

Chicago-based Molson Coors Beverage Co. (NYSE: TAP) made a $150,000 to Milwaukee Area Technical College and Milwaukee School of Engineering as part of the company’s $1.5 million Celebrate Tomorrow initiative.

The initiative supports 39 nonprofit organizations in locations where the company has hometown breweries and corporate offices.

Milwaukee houses both Molson Coors’ administrative support jobs and is the hometown of Miller Lite, one of the company’s core beer brands.

Molson Coors’ $150,000 in donations to MATC and MSOE will fund completion grants, which provide financial aid to low-income students.

Molson Coors also supports the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design with a two-year investment of $100,000.

Margaret Naczek, Milwaukee Business Journal

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