Central Standard plans tasting room, events venue at historic downtown building

Co-founders Evan Hughes and Pat McQuillan to purchase, rehab former Wisconsin Leather Co. building

The new Central Standard Craft Distillery will be located at 320. E Clybourn St. Rendering courtesy of HGA Milwaukee.

Last updated on January 13th, 2020 at 11:52 am

Central Standard Craft Distillery announced plans to open a tasting room and events venue in the former Wisconsin Leather Co. building in downtown Milwaukee.

Central Standard co-founders Evan Hughes and Pat McQuillan have agreed to purchase the 11,700 square-foot, three-story cream city brick building at 320 E. Clybourn St. They will rehab the building, with plans to open it this summer. Preliminary plans include a tasting room, restaurant, events venue, loft office space and an outdoor rooftop with views of Lake Michigan.

The facility will be seven times larger than Central Standard’s Walker’s Point location at 613 S. 2nd St.

“We’ve been looking to expand our tasting-room footprint for quite some time, and we finally found the ideal location,” Hughes said.

The owners will also relocate a 100-gallon pot still, which will provide research and development capabilities to produce Central Standard spirits for all cocktails served on site.

Hughes and McQuillan said the old Wisconsin Leather Building “strategically bridges downtown with the Third Ward,” with an ability to welcome both Milwaukeeans and out-of-towners alike. McQuillan added that nearby hotels, new mixed-use construction and streetcar stop offer a destination location for patrons.

Built in 1874, the Historic Edward Townsend Mix-designed building has housed many tenants, including the Wisconsin Leather Co. and most recently exotic art and furniture store From Afar.




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Brandon Anderegg
Brandon covers startups, technology, banking and finance. He previously worked as a general assignment and court reporter for The Freeman in Waukesha. Brandon graduated from UW-Milwaukee’s journalism, advertising and media studies program with an emphasis in journalism. He enjoys live music, playing guitar and loves to hacky sack.