Dead Bird Brewing plans expansion with Milwaukee taproom

Awarded $10,000 in February through "Project Pitch It"

Rendering of Dead Bird Brewing Co.'s new taproom.

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:22 pm

Rendering of Dead Bird Brewing Co.’s new taproom.

Milwaukee-based Dead Bird Brewing Co. by early next year will be serving up craft beer from a taproom it plans to open in Milwaukee’s Halyard Park neighborhood. 

The microbrewer will occupy a 3,600-square-foot space in a former warehouse building located on the corner of West Walnut and North 5th Streets. It will function as a taproom and secondary production facility for the brewery, which currently produces its line of 15 to 16 imperial strength brews at MobCraft Beer’s production facility in Walker’s Point.

Owners Nick Kocis and Jeremy Hach launched Dead Bird in late 2015, initially operating out of House of Brews brewery in Madison, which closed earlier this year.

MobCraft also got its start at House of Brews, but when it relocated to Milwaukee in 2016, it had the extra production space that Dead Bird needed, Kocis said, so the brewery last year started producing out of both the Madison and Milwaukee facilities.

“We were nomad brewers for a while,” Kocis said.

The company had done more than $100,000 in sales as of fall 2017. It brewed 100 barrels its first year, and 200 barrels last year.

When the new space opens, the brewery will continue to produce the majority of its beer at MobCraft, but it’s planning to use half the space of the new Milwaukee taproom to create a new line of barrel-aged beer– expected to go to market within a year– and eventually, to house a two-to-three-barrel production system, he said.

The 1,800-square-foot taproom, with seating for 100 people, will feature 16 tap lines that will serve 13 Dead Bird beers and three others, including a gluten-free beer, a cider and Dead Bird’s line of soda, produced in-house.

The brewery’s expansion is, in-part, thanks to a $10,000 cash prize it received in February while competing on “Project Pitch It,” a local reality TV show featuring area entrepreneurs and a panel of local business moguls in the style of “Shark Tank.”

“The project pitch-it money is a solid portion of the money we’re putting towards the taproom,” Kocis said. “We actually haven’t spent any of it yet but will be using all of it by the time the taproom opens in 2019. That award allowed us to show our potential investors that we weren’t just asking for money, we were willing to go out and find it ourselves as well.”

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Maredithe has covered retail, restaurants, entertainment and tourism since 2018. Her duties as associate editor include copy editing, page proofing and managing work flow. Meyer earned a degree in journalism from Marquette University and still enjoys attending men’s basketball games to cheer on the Golden Eagles. Also in her free time, Meyer coaches high school field hockey and loves trying out new restaurants in Milwaukee.

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