By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published May 16, 2018 at 12:02 PM

Sure, you recycle your empties, and maybe you even take the time to remove the non-recyclable plastic shrinkwrap labels. And maybe you take your growlers in to be filled, reusing that great container and keeping cans and bottles out of the system altogether.

Now, Milwaukee Brewing Co. has another way to save a bit of packaging and energy.

"In support of the values we were founded on, the MKE Brewing Crate Club is a continuation of our ‘Green Brewing’ initiative, and allows us to avoid wasteful packaging, fuel and other materials by providing bottled product straight off the line," reads a note from the Walker’s Point-based brewer, which is currently building a new and larger brewery in a former Pabst building Downtown.

Join the crate club and once a month, MKE Brewing will allow you, as a member, to come in and fill a crate with 20 bottles of beer for $17. Empty, reusable crates can be purchased for $5.

The club offers not only great prices on great beer – the ever-changing selection, based on availability, may include brews from the destination local series – but also access to limited-release options and unique merchandise and apparel.

This month MKE Brewing expects to have Louie’s Demise, Hop Happy, Pull Chain and Outboard available.

"The build-a-crate program reflects back to a time when recycling was part of life," says MKE Brewing founder and CEO Jim McCabe. "Returnable glass in permanent crates, that is how beverages made it to your grandparents’ home. Every grocery store, where today the charcoal and pet food is stacked, in the past had stacks of returnable cases headed back to a brewery or soda plant.

"Our plastic crates are custom-made for Milwaukee Brewing Co., using as much recycled plastic as possible. We want you to get in the habit of shopping for beer like you would shop at a farmers market – select what you want, fresh, direct from the source. Of course, this reduces packaging and ink impact on the environment. More importantly to me, you select fresh beer, in the mix you will enjoy and use in a timely way."

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 can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.