By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published May 22, 2017 at 9:02 AM

On a damp, wet and windy late May afternoon, Mayor Tom Barrett, Gov. Scott Walker and MillerCoors Chief Legal Officer Kelly Grebe ceremonially turned the earth to celebrate the official groundbreaking for an expansion of Leinenkugel’s Tenth Street Brewery.

The $50 million addition to the brewery – which was built by G. Heileman in the mid-1980s and purchased by Miller for Leinenkugel production in 1995 – will add as many as 65 new full-time jobs to the plant, which now employs about 15.

The project will also create a number of temporary construction jobs, Grebe said.

The expanded brewery – which operations manager Dan Pearson described as "nimble" – is expected to be up and running by March 2018.

Production at the plant is expected to grow ten-fold, from the roughly 25,000 barrels currently brewed annually to 250,000.

Tenth Street Brewery currently makes Leinenkugel’s Big Eddy line, IPL and other brews. Bigger selling brands like Honey Weiss, Berry Weiss, Leinie’s Red and Summer Shandy are brewed in Chippewa Falls and at Miller in the Valley.

You can read an in-depth story about the brewery and see inside here.

"MillerCoors and Milwaukee have been intricately connected since 1855," said Grebe at the brief groundbreaking event, at which Barrett and Walker also addressed a gathering of employees and media. "Over the past 162 years, we have been investing in this community and our 10th Street Brewery expansion is the latest indication of how important this City is to our success.

"This expanded facility will result in incremental employment and drastically improve our brewing flexibility," Grebe added. 

After the expansion – which will include a 2,280-square foot addition to the south end of the brewhouse and a nearly 10,000-square foot tank cellar on the north side of the building – Tenth Street Brewery will continue to brew specialty beers and focus on Leinenkugel variety packs.

"It’s a long way from a small craft brewery to the (large MillerCoors) brewery on State Street," said Randy Burroughs, MillerCoors operations business manager. "This is that in-between."

The project, Burroughs added, "is not just about expanded capacity but also more diversity of styles we can brew here."

"This expansion is just the latest example of MillerCoors investment in our state as it continues to provide economic empowerment and job opportunities to our residents," said Walker. "More jobs, more investment, more beer."

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 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.