A new breweryhoused within Wisconsin Brewing Company Park in Oconomowoc isn’t the only way that Verona-based Wisconsin Brewing Companyis looking to expand its presence in the Milwaukee area.
Paul Verdu, president of Wisconsin Brewing Company, said the company is experiencing strong growth across both its business segments and is now targeting the Milwaukee area to expand its Lake Louie Brewing brand.
“Lake Louie as a brand is really strong around Dane County. We are getting a lot of traction between here and Milwaukee, so that’s the next corridor we’re taking on,” said Verdu.
Verdu previously ran the craft beer division at Chicago-based Molson Coors. Last April he left Molson Coors, officially joining the Wisconsin Brewing Company team in May.
Wisconsin Brewing Company has two main segments: its Lake Louie Brewing brand and its business as a contract manufacturer for other companies.
Lake Louie is currently undergoing a complete brand revamp complete with new packaging and a new visual identity. The brand will also unveil a handful of new beers this year, including an IPA called Dank Beast.
“We have high growth expectations,” said Verdu. “In a flat to down market, Lake Louie is going to grow just because we’ve consolidated distributors and are really focusing on one brand.”
On the contract manufacturing side of the business, Wisconsin Brewing Company helps other companies make everything from energy drinks to non-alcoholic beers.
One of the company’s more high-profile customers is Austin, Texas-based EIGHT Brewing Co., which makes EIGHT Elite Light Lager -- NFL Hall of Famer Troy Aikman’s brand. Wisconsin Brewing Company added three new 480-barrel fermenters to help support the manufacturing process for EIGHT Elite Lager. The brewery’s largest fermenters could previously hold 240 barrels.
“We can take on all kinds of beverages, so we’re not only tied to the ups and downs of the craft beer world,” said Verdu.
The company also has a long-term expansion plan, which will eventually include the addition of a building at its Verona headquarters. Verdu said an additional six to eight employees could join the company as it grows in the next year.
This year’s anticipated volume output from the Verona brewery is expected to be double last year’s output. Verdu declined to disclose exact numbers.
The Verona headquarters is the company’s main production facility while the new Oconomowoc brewery -- Lake Louie Dockhouse -- serves as a more innovative operation.
The company’s latest capital raise has gone toward funding its growth. Wisconsin Brewing Company has raised just over $1 million of a $2 million fundraising goal, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
“We have a fantastic portfolio of beers that pretty much answer the call for any craft beer drinker,” said Verdu. “A strong brand backed by amazing beers and it’s off to the races.”