By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Dec 23, 2015 at 11:04 AM Photography:

Aspiring brewers, take note.

Milwaukee’s first brewery incubator program, run by The Crafter Space, is accepting applications through Jan. 5 for a first-of-its-kind educational program aiming to provide an in-depth look at what it takes to start a brewery.

Barley to Barrel, an in-depth 10-week program that begins Feb. 2, includes sessions on business plan development, legal hurdles and marketing, to recipe design, brewing, distribution and investing, culminating in the launch of a de-facto brewery.

The program culminates with a community launch party on April 8, during which participants will unveil the program’s specialty beer. Each will also give a five-minute pitch on their own brand or brewery to event attendees and investors. The limited release beer will also be available at a number of establishments around Milwaukee and all accounts will be serviced by participants in the program.

Instructors for the program are derived from a mentor network, including brewing, marketing, legal and investment professionals who will conduct the weekly educational sessions and provide ongoing knowledge to participants as they move forward in the field.

The minds behind the Barley to Barrel program include Milwaukee natives John Graham and Michael Anderson and Kyle Vetter of Aspen Brewing. Operating under the name The Crafter Space, the partners aspire to assist aspiring brewmasters in starting their own breweries with the goal of repositioning Milwaukee at the top of the national brewing industry.

"Even though we are the Brew City, we do not have as many breweries as other communities of similar size, and even some smaller cities," says Graham. "After visiting the Global Water Center and learning about their incubator, I realized that an incubator for craft breweries would be a great catalyst to get Milwaukee back in the conversation with Denver and Portland.

"Currently, we do not have a facility to incubate from, but we want to be able to help get aspiring brewmasters on the path, really the launchpad, to realizing their dreams. Barley to Barrel is designed to be that launchpad."

The Crafter Space, which will eventually establish a brick and mortar location, will operate out of Milwaukee-area venues including Company Brewing, 735 E Center St.

Ultimately, an incubator space will be used to educate and prepare aspiring brewmasters to launch the brewery of their dreams as well as to provide a unique and creative way for individuals to access new beers within the local market.

For more information, or to sign up, visit BarleytoBarrel,com. 

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.