Lakefront Brewery plans to expand in Menomonee Valley

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Lakefront Brewery has obtained an option to purchase 9.3 acres of land in Milwaukee's Menomonee Valley that was once intended for an expansion of the Allen Edmonds Shoe Company.

With the option agreement, Lakefront will be able to explore the site at 841 Canal Street to see if it will fit the brewery’s needs for a second production facility.  President and owner Russ Klisch says the location fits for both the manufacturing and tourism sides.

"It has good accessibility off the expressway.   It's just west of the Harley Davidson museum.  It has plenty of land on the site to expand and grow, and so for those facts, it's nice," he said.

Lakefront’s existing brewery facility is located on Commerce St., near Holton, in Milwaukee's Riverwest neighborhood. A second brewing location will provide Lakefront with the ability to expand its production and distribution and could bring an additional 75 to 150 jobs to Wisconsin over the next several years.

"The tanks are tight in our current location.  Everybody's kind of walking like we're squeezed in, so it's time for us to start looking at another facility," said Klisch.

Lakefront Brewery officials say their business is one of the nation’s fastest-growing microbreweries, having increased its production from less than 6,300 barrels in 2005 to 33,000 barrels last year.  According to its production count, Lakefront Brewery has now grown to a regional level.

"We'll continue to grow with a second location and hopefully bring the brewing heritage back to Milwaukee," said Klisch.

The vacant lot is owned by the former President of Allen Edmonds.  Klisch says right now, they're in the first stages of discussion.  But if the deal goes through, he expects to have the second location up and running by late 2015 or 2016.  Klisch also says there are plans to host brewery tours there and open a brewpub.

Lakefront Brewery, Inc. distributes its products to 35 states, Israel and Canada.