By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Dec 28, 2023 at 9:18 PM

On Thursday evening, Milwaukee's Dead Bird Brewing – which opened in Halyard Park in 2019 – posted a message on social media, writing, "Everyone is making New Year’s resolutions and so are we! We’re resolving to be the brewery we’ve always wanted to be! Cheers to y'all."

Here was the message in full:


What does it mean? We asked owner/brewmaster Nick Kocis...

"The current taproom is not closing. We are actually finally able to get back into distribution of our beer," he told me on Thursday. "Before we opened, we had nearly 80 retail locations between Dane and Milwaukee counties and it has always been our goal to get back to them.

"It took us three years to finally order, receive, install, and fully commission our five barrel brewhouse. COVID supply complications were causing us issues right up until October of this year. We ordered the brewery equipment in early spring of 2021. We didn’t start getting pieces until late December of 2021.

"We didn’t get the electrical finished until Spring of 2023 after numerous delays related to a large piece of electrical equipment, and our glycol system wasn’t fully functional until October of this year.

"Needless to say those delays nearly cost us the company. Had things taken any longer we would’ve seriously considered shutting down. Now, with everything functional, we can refocus on beer.

"With that comes some shifting away from food. We’ll still have plenty to snack on – all vegan, as always – including our pizzas and soft pretzels but we’ll be doing less rotating specials and time consuming menu items. This will all allow us to spend more time making and selling beer, which is what we set out to do originally.

"We’re hoping to have beer on shelves in a few locations in and around Madison and Milwaukee by the end of the month."

Watch this space as Kocis says that he's working with a partner on "a large summer beer garden" (that's the "new place" mentioned in the social media note). More on that later.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

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 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 has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.