Milwaukee's pioneering Sprecher Brewing Co. has been sold to a group of local investors.
The group includes former GE Medical, Electrolux, ABB and Samsung exec Sharad Chadha, the company's new chief executive officer; Andy Nunemaker, the brewery's new chairman of the board; and former MillerCoors executive Jim Kanter, Sprecher's new sales manager.
Homeowners Concept Realtors owner Pete Skanavis will serve on the Sprecher board.
"Sharad’s offer presented the ideal opportunity. It was important to me that Sprecher stay locally owned," said Sprecher. "This has been my life’s passion for decades and I want to see the company thrive. With this talented and experienced group, I’m sure it will."
Former Pabst employee Randy Sprecher, who is now 73 and plans to retire, opened his eponymous brewery in Walker's Point in 1985, along with James Bubolz, making him one of the earlier pioneers of craft brewing in the United States.
Sprecher launched its now famous root beer a few years later, meaning it was also an early player in the craft soda boom.
In 1995, Sprecher moved to its current home in Glendale. In 2018, it opened a taproom in the former Brenner Brewing space in Walker's Point, but that location closed last summer, around the same time the company launched its first hard selzer.
You can read more about Sprecher's history in this 2018 OnMilwaukee story.
"Much like Milwaukee, Sprecher Brewery is a little-known gem with a great future ahead of it. Sprecher not only has a diverse portfolio – craft beer, craft soda, craft cider, craft hard seltzer and craft sparkling water – it also has the best tasting products in the industry. We want to capitalize on what Randy built and share these amazing beverages with as many people as possible. Sprecher Root Beer is the best root beer in America, and we have the potential to significantly grow the company."
"We plan on listening to and working with our retail partners, distributor partners, employees, community and other stakeholders to bring Sprecher beverages within reach of as many people as possible," said Chadha. "We want to always be within reach for all ages and all taste buds.
"With a great local group of investors who are Sprecher fans, we plan to do great things that make our Milwaukee, Wisconsin Community and customers proud. Build on our history and heritage of great tasting quality products and best root beer of America. Sprecher will be the craft beverage icon of America."
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.