Milwaukee Brewing

    Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:36 pm

    From the machinery used to make the beer to the fuel used to power the equipment, recycling is playing a key role in the development of the Milwaukee Brewing Co.’s Second Street Brewery. The new brewery at 613 S. Second St. is being built by Jim McCabe, owner of the Milwaukee Ale House.

    McCabe is leasing about 15,000 square feet at the Walker’s Point brewery site, which formerly was the home of V. Marchese Produce and was used as a vehicle maintenance and repair shop for Western Wrecking before that.

    McCabe’s lease includes an option to purchase the site.

    Milwaukee Brewing Co. will start brewing beer at the site this summer. Brewery tours will begin after City of Milwaukee officials grant permission.

    The brewery will include a two-story tasting area, which will take up about one quarter of the brewery’s space, McCabe said. The site also will feature a few hundred square feet devoted to commemorating Milwaukee’s brewing history.

    The brewery itself will be a museum of sorts. Most of its largest fixtures, including fermenting tanks, canning machines and other large tanks for storing beer, have been gathered from the former Pabst brewery and other breweries around the world.

    McCabe bought two of Pabst’s large tanks, which he’ll use to store hot and cold water. In the past several weeks, he purchased a can-filling equipment line from the closed brewery, which will allow him to put handcrafted beer into cans, somewhat of a rarity in the microbrew world.

    The canning ability might give McCabe an advantage, especially when it comes to marketing his products.

    "Craft-brewed beers primarily come on tap (in bars) and in brown bottles," he said. "There are a lot of places that don’t want you to bring in glass. And people who like craft beers do a lot of things where glass isn’t accessible."

    One of the biggest attractions to the new space was a large walk-in cooler, which V. Marchese used to store produce that needed refrigeration. McCabe has already installed a series of large tanks in the cooler, where beer will be brewed under controlled, cool conditions.

    Those tanks were shipped from a private brewery that had closed in Germany, he said. They will be used for the lagering process, where beer ferments naturally under cool conditions.

    Two of the tanks being used at the brewery were from a now-defunct brewery in Calgary, Canada. Two others came from a facility in Franksville, a Racine suburb.

    Currently, three employees are working full-time at McCabe’s facility, installing the tanks, bottling and canning machinery, and creating two large burners to heat big quantities of water.

    "We’re doing most of the work ourselves," he said. "We have the in-house capability to do our own welding. Our guys are proficient in stainless steel fabrication, which is important in brewing and food preparation."

    McCabe said he has met many former Pabst brewery workers since he embarked on the project.

    "I feel fortunate to be brewing beer in Brew Town," he said. "There are so many guys who know how to work and fix these old machines here. These kinds of resources exist only because we’re trying to make beer in what used to be the beer capital of the world. Brewing and making things in Milwaukee are still very attractive from a re-use standpoint."

    McCabe said he’s expecting about 12 people to work in the brewery full-time.

    When those workers arrive, they’ll be coming to Wisconsin’s first "green" brewery, where McCabe will be striving toward zero emissions.

    To achieve that goal:

    • One of the boilers the company uses will be powered by bio-diesel, generated from the cooking grease used at the Milwaukee Ale House. If necessary, McCabe said, he’ll try collecting grease from some of the nearby Mexican restaurants. He is currently experimenting with making bio-diesel at an off-site location.

    • The brewery is examining washing and reusing glass bottles. "There are some guys doing it fairly successfully in the northwest and in Canada," he said. "We’ll be experimenting with it on a very small scale. But if the experiment works, we’ll have to get a bottle-washing operation set up away from the brewery (in a separate building)."

    • McCabe owns his own dump truck, which he’ll be using to haul away the grains used in the brewing process. While the grains aren’t suitable for human consumption, they work well as a supplement to animal feed.

    • The brewery is being designed to recapture as much hot water heat as possible, which will be used to heat the building in the colder months. The company will also be experimenting with using solar panels on its rooftop, McCabe said.

    The Second Street Brewery is being built and designed at twice the capacity the Milwaukee Brewing Co. needs to make its own beers and sodas. One of the company’s goals is to begin contract brewing for other brands or restaurants that don’t have brewing capabilities.

    Milwaukee Brewing Co. will be able to produce sodas right away, and McCabe said he will order equipment so the brewery can produce juices on a contract basis.

    If his business follows his projections, the brewery should reach its capacity in six to eight years, McCabe said, and then it will have to move.

    "That means that in three years, we’ve got to have the next location figured out," he said. "As soon as this opens, we’ve got to figure out where we go next."

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