A project to build a brewery and auction house in Wauwatosa surged ahead on Friday as Neenah’s Lion’s Tail Brewing closed its purchase of a former home and garden store on North Avenue.
Wisconsin Garden & Pet Supply, 8520 W. North Ave., closed this fall after 68 years in business. It leaves behind a building complex totaling 4,615 indoor square feet, as well as a sheltered outdoor space where tomato plants, flowers, and ornamental grasses were once sold that now touts itself as an excellent beer garden. .
âWe can’t wait to join such a fantastic beer community in Milwaukee and an amazing neighborhood like Wauwatosa,â the brewery said in a Facebook post on Friday. âWe are proud to be a small part of the growth we expect for this city in the years to come!
Lion’s Tail opened as a craft brewery in downtown Neenah in 2015 and has more or less peaked in its current space at around 800 barrels this year. He sells his kegs and four packets of cans throughout most of central and eastern Wisconsin, including Milwaukee and Madison.
The new facility will allow Lion’s Tail, which distributes its beer itself, to add accounts in these existing markets, as well as ensure a more regular supply to stores, bars and restaurants that already sell its beer, Nick said. Leak, Director of Operations and Marketing. . Like many small breweries, Lion’s Tail started packing a lot more of its beer in cans last year as the pandemic set in and sales of draft beer slowed down. Its colorfully labeled cans have become a more constant presence in local bottle stores over the past year.
Lion’s Tail’s portfolio is a hybrid of contemporary and traditional styles, with hazy IPAs and fruity acids alongside European-style lagers and wheat beers. Its flagship beer Juice Cloud was at the forefront of the foggy New England / IPA trend in Wisconsin, making a name for Lion’s Tail among the early-brewing state beer geeks.
With unstable timetables for government approvals and construction, Leak said it was not clear when the Wauwatosa Brewery could open, although he expected it to be in 2022. The Brewery and the Taproom will employ 10 to 20 people, part-time and full-time.
Brewing equipment has yet to be ordered, Leak said, but Lion’s Tail owner Alex Wenzel, who grew up in Mequon, is leaning towards a 15-barrel brewery that could afford the business more than to double its production. Documents submitted to the city call for an annual production of 1,000 to 2,500 barrels in Wauwatosa. Neenah Brewery has a 10 barrel brewing system.
Galbraith Carnahan Architects of Wauwatosa is designing the property remodel, which will include new construction on a driveway that cuts the property in half. And Leak said Lion’s Tail was working with Duffek Construction, which was the general contractor for the large brewery and valve room at Eagle Park Brewing in Muskego.
City and state building, design, liquor license and brewing approvals are still pending, but closing the property after months of negotiations is a big step, Leak said. He declined to provide the purchase price or the overall cost of the project.
âIt’s been a long time coming, but we’re really excited,â he said.