Chicago-based Pilot Project Brewing has officially emerged as the buyer of Milwaukee Brewing Company’s 70,000-square-foot downtown Milwaukee production facility at 1128 N. 9th St., as well as the attached Bottlehouse 42 restaurant.
Pilot Project Brewing, which describes itself as a first-of-its-kind brewery incubator, completed a $8 million seed round to make these purchases.
“Pilot Project was established to support creativity, diversity and innovation in an industry that often overlooks it or maintains unreasonable barriers to allow it,” said Dan Abel,Pilot Project’s co-founder and CEO. “By bringing Pilot back to Wisconsin, where Jordan and I went to school, we are introducing a business focused on catalyzing innovation to the birthplace of disruption in brewing. The Milwaukee Brewing facility is a former Pabst building, and we are eager to participate and continue the legacy of innovation rooted in this city and support creativity in brewing nationwide.”
Pilot Project Brewing’s mission is to foster experimental and small-batch brewing. The company’s Chicago location, established in 2019, offers breweries assistance in fine-tuning recipes, production, scaling, business development, marketing, distribution and more. In addition to a brewery incubator, the Chicago location has a taste room featuring an assortment of coffees and a scratch kitchen offering artisanal sandwiches, salads, and other pub fare. Abel founded the company with co-founder Jordan Radke.
In Milwaukee, Pilot Project will refresh the Milwaukee Brewing Company building, including its beer garden, rooftop, restaurant and tasting room. Any events previously scheduled with Bottlehouse 42 and Noble Catering will be honored and managed by the Noble Catering team. Pilot Project also plans to launch between five to 10 new brands annually,
Since its inception, Pilot Project has launched over 13 breweries, including nationally recognized brands like women-founded Luna Bay Hard Kombucha and ROVM Hard Kombucha, Black-owned Funkytown Brewery, travel-inspired Brewer’s Kitchen, Indian-led Azadi Brewing, and others.
Milwaukee Brewing Co. formally announced in March it would sell the company and its assets. New Mill Capital, a manufacturing asset acquisition and disposition firm, sold the company. The firm considered bids for both the 9th Street brewery and intellectual property as a package and separately.