Milwaukee’s MobCraft beer is opening a new taproom in Denver this year and plans to open in two more in the following two years.
MobCraft is raising up to $2.25 million for expansion via a Wefunder equity crowdfunding campaign to pay for the expansion, as well as taking on partners in some of the locations.
The campaign has so far raised just over $269,000. Learn more about becoming an investor here.
The first new location, which is expected to open in Denver’s Curtis Park neighborhood later this year, is a joint venture with Pueblo, Colorado-based Dee Tacko and plans to feature tacos and tequila alongside its crowdsourced beer.
The brewpub and taco eatery, with a capacity of 600 patrons – and a seven-barrel brewery – will occupy the former Liberati Brewery at 2403 Champa St.
MobCraft will rent the building and the brew system.
MobCraft founder Henry Schwartz is a Colorado native and his cousin, Justin Weber, is a partner in the Denver project, along with Juan Herrera and Cesar Munoz, who opened Dee Tacko in April 2020.
"My roots are in Denver, and I've missed Colorado ever since I moved in 2003,” said Schwartz. “I am so excited for the opportunity to partner with Juan and Ceasar to bring MobCraft beer to the Denver area and to create a unique, hybrid space in the community."
Renovation of the space is already underway.
Schwartz said he will remain in Miwaukee.
Next spring, MobCraft expects to open in a former firehouse along the Fox River in Waterford, Wisconsin.
That location will open with Rick Beck and Geoff Beck (no relation) as investors and will latch onto the roots of the Rick Beck’s historical family brewery, John Beck Brewery, operated in Waterford from just after the Civil War until 1890.
A group led by Rick Beck previously attempted to open a brewery in the firehouse in a plan that did not move forward due to troubles within the partnership.
At that location, 122 N. 2nd St., Head Chef Abby Kazal-Thresher will expand the taproom’s existing menu.
The facility will include indoor and outdoor bar, a full kitchen, a 3.5-barrel brewhouse, dining room and 1,500-square-foot events space.
According to Schwartz, the Becks, “are key investors in the concept, bringing legwork of initial designs, plans with the village and strong community ties to the project.”
Finally, in spring 2023, MobCraft plans to open in Woodstock, Illinois in the historic sheriff’s residence in the old courthouse complex on the city’s central square.
This location will also have a 3.5-barrel brew system, as well as basement and first floor bars, a 1,000-square-foot outdoor patio and seating inside the original jail cells.
MobCraft will partner with The Public House, which is located in the same complex, to provide food for the brewery. It also plans to partner with local chocolatier, Ethereal Confections.
Because Woodstock was the setting for Bill Murray’s iconic “Groundhog Day,” Schwartz said that MobCraft will release a limited edition version of Padishah Imperial Stout aged in Sweet Vermouth barrels on Groundhog Day.
Schwartz said that he’s also eying longer-range plans to open MobCraft locations in Madison, Chicago and Wisconsin’s Fox Valley.
“The COVID pandemic really made us dig into our business and explore the direction we wanted to expand in the future,” he said.
“Pilot breweries in communities that vibe with our crowdsourced mentality are what we want to build and customers who appreciate the variety of beers we brew are who we want to serve.”
Opened in 2013 in Madison, with the approach of crowdsourcing beer recipes, MobCraft moved to Milwaukee’s Walker’s Point neighborhood in 2016.
“We are beyond excited for our future expansions,” said MobCraft Director of Operations, Kayla Thomas. “Bringing our unique crowdsourced model and great beers to new U.S. locations allows us to build new relationships and invest in communities while cultivating a culture for beer.”
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.