One of Milwaukee’s favorite local beers, Riverwest Stein, is joining the growing trend of crafts in cans. Lakefront Brewery announced it will offer its flagship beer in cans, as part of the company’s 30th anniversary celebration that includes a rebranding of its image, identity, packaging and varieties.
The popular amber lager will be available in 12-packs of 12-ounce cans starting this Memorial Day weekend, with 16-ounce four-packs also being produced and released later in July. The cans will be sold in stores around the city, according to Lakefront Director of Communications Matt Krajnak, who also expects them to be at Miller Park and at other area events. The 12-packs will retail at $13.99, while the price of the four-packs has not yet been determined.
Riverwest Stein is the first Lakefront beer to be canned, and the best-selling brew has also received a sleek new logo that showcases the "hardworking neighborhood" in which the brewery was founded in 1987. The in-house redesign is the latest image iteration for Riverwest Stein and was the creation of Michael Stodola, Lakefront Brewery brand manager, who said the reimagining reflects a sense of "dependability, fun and an honest day’s work."
Said Krajnak, "As soon as I saw it, I thought it was excellent. The name of the beer and the neighborhood are front and center, and with the straightforward font, I think it really pops. It also highlights the architecture of Riverwest. Michael did a fantastic job with it."
The new cans feature a tribute at the top to the brewery’s three decades in business, but Krajnak said he anticipates Lakefront will keep the new logo moving forward and simply tweak or remove the 30-year reference.
"I think someone who wouldn’t have thought to buy Riverwest Stein at the store but sees the new packages with the new look might be more likely to try it now," Krajnak said.
The redesign is one of several Lakefront graphic changes meant to strengthen and focus the brand. Much of the brewery’s portfolio is getting updated logos, including East Side Dark, Fuel Café, New Grist, Klisch Pilsner, Organika White Ale and Pumpkin Imperial Ale. And Lakefront is also introducing several new beers – a Double IPA that launches in July, a Single Hop (SHOP) series, a Black Friday special reserve and the commemorative Lakefront 30.
Other state breweries have recently started canning, too, including New Glarus and Leinenkugel’s. According to the national Brewers Association, there are several reasons craft brewers are switching from bottles to cans, including freshness, sustainability, mobility, business innovations and improved perceptions.
Given changing consumer preferences and increased demand, for one of Milwaukee’s oldest craft breweries, it was time to get on the can-packaging bandwagon. Lakefront, which will continue its bottling operations, announced the Riverwest Stein news with the tagline, "Yes, we can. We finally can."
"From our beginnings on Chambers Street 30 years ago to now, our image continues a steady climb upward. This is another great step," Russ Klisch, Lakefront Brewery owner and cofounder, said in a statement. "We’ve learned a lot about this business and about ourselves. Innovation, growth and being fresh are keys to success in the craft beer world. We’re lucky to have enjoyed all three.
"We’re only 30 years old. Time to celebrate our success, our city and our fans."
Born in Milwaukee but a product of Shorewood High School (go ‘Hounds!) and Northwestern University (go ‘Cats!), Jimmy never knew the schoolboy bliss of cheering for a winning football, basketball or baseball team. So he ditched being a fan in order to cover sports professionally - occasionally objectively, always passionately. He's lived in Chicago, New York and Dallas, but now resides again in his beloved Brew City and is an ardent attacker of the notorious Milwaukee Inferiority Complex.
After interning at print publications like Birds and Blooms (official motto: "America's #1 backyard birding and gardening magazine!"), Sports Illustrated (unofficial motto: "Subscribe and save up to 90% off the cover price!") and The Dallas Morning News (a newspaper!), Jimmy worked for web outlets like CBSSports.com, where he was a Packers beat reporter, and FOX Sports Wisconsin, where he managed digital content. He's a proponent and frequent user of em dashes, parenthetical asides, descriptive appositives and, really, anything that makes his sentences longer and more needlessly complex.
Jimmy appreciates references to late '90s Brewers and Bucks players and is the curator of the unofficial John Jaha Hall of Fame. He also enjoys running, biking and soccer, but isn't too annoying about them. He writes about sports - both mainstream and unconventional - and non-sports, including history, music, food, art and even golf (just kidding!), and welcomes reader suggestions for off-the-beaten-path story ideas.