Last week, we got a peek into the plans for the first-ever New Barons’ brewery and taproom in the former Enlightened space in the Lincoln Warehouse in Bay View. (You can read all about that here.)
Now says CEO John Degroote, New Barons has notched, "another full circle moment in our journey here."
New Barons is teaming with its upstairs neighbors – Component Brewing, which occupies Enlightened’s very first space on the second floor – to create a cooperative brewery set-up.
"We are setting up pretty much the same arrangement that we did with the Enlightened guys," Degroote says. "They are providing us three seven-barrel fermentation vessels and in exchange, we will allow them to use our premises to make their product.
"They get access to one of the vessels at all times, we get access to one, then we share the third on a scheduling, week to week basis."
New Baron member/owner volunteers moved the tanks in on Wednesday.
The plan helps both breweries by providing more capacity and flexibility to each.
"We have always been limited by capacity on our one-barrel system since we started two years ago," says DJ Kowalske, who owns Component with his brother Steve and their cousin Jon. "We purchased Raised Grain’s old system in hopes of expanding about a year ago. We’ve had a few places that looked promising to expand but they feel through for one reason or another.
"In the current climate we have slowed the search temporarily and are lucky enough to have New Barons moving into Enlightened’ s old space. They needed fermenters and we just happen to have some sitting in a garage just waiting to get out of retirement!"
The new capacity will allow Component to create new beers.
"We will be able to expand our offerings to restaurants and eventually liquor stores as well," says Kowalske. "We have such a great following and people are always asking where they can find our beer. The answer used to be ‘only in our taproom’ but that should change soon."
The deal also fits nicely into New Barons’ co-op set-up, says Degroote.
"We figure the co-op is nothing if not a place to share resources, and given that our journey to this point has heavily leaned on sharing tank space with others, why stop now," Degroote says, adding that it all sets the stage nicely for collaboration brews between New Barons and Component.
"Collaboration has always been fun and now it’s practical as well," says Kowalske. "Looking forward to brewing seven barrels at a time with our neighbors!"
The tanks, Degroote says, were brought into the space on Wednesday.
"We agreed to the deal with them last week," says Degroote. "The next step is to plumb these tanks in, waiting for the government paperwork to finalize, then we'll start alternating the use of these tanks."
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 can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.