Lakefront Brewery Inc., a Milwaukee-based craft brewer, is once again eyeing a potential expansion site. The brewery announced it has an accepted offer to buy land at 1890 N. Commerce St. The site, which was formerly slated for a condo development, is on the east side of the Holton Street Bridge, adjacent to the existing Lakefront facility at 1872 N. Commerce St.
According to Lakefront Brewery Owner Russ Klisch, plans are to purchase a lot next door and build on it as soon as it is financially feasible for the brewery. The brewery plans to relocate its packaging lines and additional fermentation tanks at the new facility. The brewhouse would retain all of its existing fermentation tanks and would use the space vacated by packaging for barrel aging.
The expansion is being driven by increased demand. Lakefront now brews 40,000 barrels per year, with production having nearly doubled in the past two years alone. The second brewing location will provide Lakefront with the ability to expand its production and distribution and at capacity would provide an additional 40 full-time jobs to Wisconsin over the next several years. The company has also begun expanding its warehouse facilities; last week, Lakefront began work on an addition to its cold storage facility at 218 E. Keefe Ave., which could add as many as 30 jobs (10 full-time).
“We are taking a very measured approach to expansion, and acquiring this land is an initial step,” said Klisch. “However, the craft beer market just continues to grow and we need to expand production or we won’t be able to keep up with demand.”
A neighborhood meeting to review the plans for the Commerce Street expansion and to answer questions from the community is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 25, at the brewery.