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The Year in Wisconsin Beer

 

Taking a look back on 2014, Wisconsin brewers continued on a path of strong growth and ever expanding creativity. We expect more growth, more creativity, and most importantly, more beer in 2015. More breweries are opening in Wisconsin and the current count of craft breweries in the state stands at 104 which also includes breweries that are expected to open their doors sometime this year. Whether a pioneering Wisconsin craft brewery or a new entrant on the craft scene, the quality is as good as it has ever been.

 

 

GABF Winners
 

Wisconsin brewers brought home the hardware from the 2014 Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado. It’s no small feat given the ever-growing list of entrants and beers. Topping out with a Gold medal in the German-Style Märzen category, Capital Brewery’s Oktoberfest was the timely winner for the early autumn contest out west. Long known for their German-style beers, it comes as no surprise to Wisconsin natives that the copper colored lager beer once again reclaimed it’s place as one of American craft brewing’s standard bearers.

 

MobCraft Beer out of Madison won Silver for “Bat$hit Crazy” in the Coffee Beer category. A true Wisconsin coffee beer would be brewed with milk sugar, of course and this English-style brown ale used locally roasted coffee as well. The MobCraft crew has developed a talent for incorporating an array of ingredients in their versatile line-up of crowdsourced beers.

 

Titletown isn’t just a reference to Green Bay’s storied football glory, but also is the fitting namesake of the Bronze medal winning brewer of Stammtisch Lager. Titletown Brewing Company’s Munich-Style Helles joins several other German-style beers that have previously won GABF medals for the veteran brewpub.

 

A rookie on the Green Bay craft beer scene, Stillmank Brewing also won Bronze with Wisco Disco in the Ordinary or Special Bitter category. No ordinary beer, it’s another of Wisconsin’s winners that uses milk sugar. In addition to the brewery being in the shadows of Lambeau Field, the beer itself is also available inside the stadium.

 

Stevens Point Brewery sent their Whole Hog Pumpkin Ale into the ring and came out with Bronze in the Pumpkin Beer category. The Whole Hog Pumpkin Ale has fared well among reviewers outside of the professionally competitive arena as well winning the nod in blind taste tests among consumers as well.

It’s winter in Wisconsin and that can only mean one thing: a heated tent full of Wisconsin Beer Lovers embracing the season with “Winter Warmer” beers of course! Join 40 of your favorite Wisconsin craft breweries in Minocqua, WI this Saturday January 10, 2015  from 1-5 pm for the first in the Wisconsin Beer Lovers festival circuit. 

 

No doubt the state’s biggest craft beer party inside a heated tent, the Ice Cold Beer Fest takes place on Minocqua's downtown Island and features well over 100 Wisconsin craft beers, a full buffet of food, and live music from folk-rock group Driveway Thriftdwellers - all included with admission. A festival unlike any other, it’s the best way to embrace the winter wonderland of the northwoods and
ring in a New Year of great beer.

The Ice Cold Beer Festival is in its 17th year of raising funds for Doctor Kate Hospice – a local not-for-profit who works hard to help those families in the most critical times of life. The Wisconsin Brewers Guild is proud to participate and we hope you join us as well.

Tickets are available at wisconsinbeerloversfest.com and are also available at the door.

 
WiBL's Win Beer At Wisconsin Brewers Guild Events!

This is Deb Hamm and her husband Bob. Deb is celebrating the fact that she won more beer than she could even fit into her designated driver’s car. She was the lucky WiBL member who won a Wheelbarrow Full of Beer at the Wisconsin Beer Lovers Brewmasters Oktoberfest last September. If you aren’t planning to be at the Ice Cold Beer Fest in Minocqua on January 10, 2015 then Deb just might win another Wheelbarrow Full of Beer. Tickets are still available and if you’re a WiBL, bring your membership card with you for a chance to win more beer than a fleet of snowmobiles could tow!

Brewer Interview: MobCraft Beer's Henry Schwartz
Wisconsin Brewers Guild Executive Director Mark Garthwaite sat down with Henry Schwartz, CEO of MobCraft Beer (and the guy in the middle of the photo above who is about to be crushed by a falling keg) to discuss their brewery's unique business model in which they are offering shares to the public. A condensed the transcript follows below.

Mark: So tell us a little bit about MobCraft.

Henry: MobCraft turns ideas into beer. We are a crowdsourced brewery in Madison, WI that was named the top new brewer of 2013 by Rate Beer! We started brewing at The House of Brews through an alternating proprietorship in May of 2013 to test our model of a crowdsourced brewery. It's been really well received so far and a lot of fun too. We've brewed 15 batches of crowdsourced beer, a handful of collaboration brews, have established 3 flagships, and in mid-January we will launch a line of sour beers. We have grown to the point that we need more space and a taproom, and hope to begin construction of our new brewery in April.

Mark: You got my attention with your sour program! So what's CraftFund and how did you start working with them?

Henry: 
Craftfund.com is a funding platform for companies to raise money rough the sale of equity to the general public.

Mark: Similar to something like Kickstarter?

Henry: Yes, it's similar to Kickstarter except people who invest in companies through CraftFund are purchasing shares in the company. They're not just getting a reward for donating money, they're becoming part owners in the company.  

Mark: How much are you trying to raise? How much is a share? Are there any beer perks?

Henry: All of our deal terms and info associated with the campaign are available on the CraftFund website. We can talk about the business, it's future plans, growth and the buildout but the way this law was created, the DFI wants to make sure the investor is protected and they do that by ensuring we have all the info people needed to know on the site itself.

Mark: And DFI is....?

Henry: The Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions

Mark: Walk me through the process of checking out your campaign.

Henry: First you go to
craftfund.com and sign up for an account. Then you verify Wisconsin residency. You can check out the dealers and read through the disclosure document where you can learn about MobCraft and the investment in depth. From there I'd welcome any calls and emails to talk it over!

Mark: What will a successful campaign mean for you guys?

Henry: This will put a jetpack on MobCraft! We're working with banks on a loan and revolving loan fund which needs to be backed by assets like the brewhouse, bottling line, etc. So the crowd funded portion will really help us with working capital and give us the downpayment needed for the loan. Once the brewery is up and running we'll be able to push out a lot more draft as well as introduce flagships in cans. Our fans have been really excited for MobCraft standard beers to become more available so it will be great to start gaining more of a presence.

Mark: Thanks Henry and Good Luck!
 
In Case You Missed It......

Our breweries are often making news around the state. Here's what you may have missed in the latter half of 2014: Keep up with Wisconsin craft brewery updates at http://blog.wibrewersguild.com

 
Happy New Year!
Copyright © 2015 Wisconsin Brewer's Guild, All rights reserved.


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