The small craft brewery has occupied Enlightened Brewings’s first space on the second floor since 2018 and beginning in May will move to another 3,000-square-foot spot on the first floor, where it will install a seven-barrel brew system.
The space had been home to a gym, and has served as temporary office space for Michels Corp. since its offices across the street in the new R1ver development were damaged in an explosion in December.
"The old space has served us well but we bought Raised Grain's old brewing system and wanted to get it up and running," says co-owner DJ Kowalske.
"A spot opened up on the first floor and we are really excited to be able to stay in Bay View in the warehouse. It just happens to be next door to our friends at New Barons, as well."
Kowalske said that Component began looking for a new location but that COVID put a halt to that effort.
"We survived the year thanks to our loyal customers who bought tons of to-go beer from the taproom," he says. “Now, we can get the seven-barrel system going and have a bigger taproom.
"(We can) put our new canner to good use, as well. We will be able to expand our distribution to bars, restaurants and retail stores."
The second floor taproom will remain open while build-out of a new taproom is underway downstairs, he says.
Component also plans to build a patio out front and hopes it will be ready by autumn.
“The upstairs space and brewery will be for sale,” says Kowalski. “Not many small turnkey breweries around! Hopefully someone wants to start small like we did.”
That arrangement will continue until the new system is up and running, according to Kowalske.
“We have lots of beer gardens this summer at Muskego and New Berlin,” he says. “Folks should be thirsty!”
Component is operating four monthly beer gardens with the City of New Berlin at from July to October.
Further expansion could also be in the cards, as Kowalske says an adjacent space might become a private room for parties.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.