In Bars & Clubs

The New Barons Brewing Cooperative takes a big step.

New Barons and Enlightened breweries partner up

New Barons Brewing Cooperative, a start-up brewery operated by its members, is taking another step toward owning and operating its own brewery and tasting room someday.

The cooperative, headed by John DeGroote, started brewing through the Barley to Barrel educational program last year, which provided it the opportunity to make a test batch via pre-existing breweries.

"This was a great experience for us and we were ready to take another step," says DeGroote.

Almost serendipitously, DeGroote and another co-op member, Heidi Dalibor, had a conversation with James Larson from Enlightened Brewing Company, 2018 S. 1st St. They expressed their interest in partnering with another brewery as a "middle phase" in their process of someday owning their own.

Larson and his partner, Tommy Vandervort, were interested in the partnership and struck a deal with the New Barons: They would purchase a fermentation tank for Enlightened in exchange for using their equipment.

"This is an indefinite, longterm arrangement until we have our own spot," says Dalibor.

DeGroote jokes that Larson and Vendervort were particularly open to the idea of sharing their space because all three of them have red hair.

"I should probably grow a beard to be a part of the team," jokes DeGroote.

New Barons will brew about 100 barrels a year in the Enlightened space, with the first batches available by fall. They will not be selling their beer on tap in Enlightened's tasting room, but they will be selling kegs directly to bars – with the goal to someday sell their beer in bottles.

"James is an expert in the field, and I know he is going to be a great teacher for me," says DeGroote.

On Saturday, Aug. 5, New Barons will host a beer competition at 3 p.m. Go here to find out more and to register.

Check out this New Barons' video by Sip Milwaukee and see more videos of Milwaukee's beverage brands at and



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