Milwaukeeans who want to travel to familiar and new bars this year might find PubPass appealing. The concept is simple: spend $25 and receive a passport-like booklet that entitles you to a free beer at 25 local bars.
Three guys from Minneapolis – Nick Dyer, Rett Martin and Jake Nyberg – launched the concept in their hometown last year and decided to add a second city in 2015. Originally, Nyberg says they picked Portland, but decided to bring PubPass to Milwaukee instead.
"Milwaukee is a fantastic beer city with great energy and we love the unique mix of bars," says Nyberg. "Suddenly, it seemed like the logical second stop and the reception in Milwaukee has been really warm."
There are 25 Milwaukee bars participating in the program and it’s valid until the end of 2015. Bars include Boone & Crockett, Fink’s, Horny Goat Hideaway, The Hotel Foster, Monkey Bar, Old German Beer Hall, Riverwest Filling Station, The Tin Widow, Tonic Tavern and more.
It is at the bar’s discretion as to which beers are available to PubPass holders. Nyberg says they encourage the bars to have a large selection and that last year in Minneapolis there was only one bar that, at first, offered a slim selection and later added more beers to the list of available brews.
"We understand if a bar doesn’t want to give away $9 glasses of a Belgium beer, but at the same time, we’d hope they’ll offer more than a Coors Light," he says. "In Minneapolis we did not have a problem with this at all, and we do not anticipate an issue in Milwaukee. We think people will be pleased with the selection."
Bars agree to give one free beer to each PubPass holder. The concept, of course, is to bring in new customers and that drinkers will stay for more than the pre-paid drink.
"This is a chance for a bar to make a good first impression on a lot of new customers," says Nyberg.
In Minneapolis, PubPass is available online and in a store called Beer Dabbler. Eventually, PubPass Milwaukee might be available in select shops, but for now it's strictly a cyber-based purchase.
In the future, PubPass might also be an app, but for now it is a paper booklet that people will carry from bar to bar in pockets or purses.
"We like the idea of a tangible item to take to a bar," says Nyberg. "And it’s a great conversation piece. We are trying to create an experience and the physical pass is part of that experience."
PubPass donates $1 to the Hunger Task Force for every book sold.
Although some PubPass purchasers might use the pass strictly to get 25 beers for $1 from 25 different locales, the PubPass was created with people in mind who appreciate craft beer and appreciate trying out new places.
"This is not a college punch card and we are not aiming for the ‘where can I get a free beer’ crowd," says Nyberg. "And don’t forget to tip your bartender."
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.