It all started with brothers Carl and Mike Nolen and brewmaster Kirby Nelson. Three Wisconsin
-born-and-raised regular guys who share a passion for the Badger State — its friendly people, bountiful resources, rich brewing heritage — and the idea that drawing on all of the above is the key to creating some really awesome beer.
Kirby Nelson, who also serves as company’s vice-president, and Wisconsin
Brewing president Carl Nolen were both longtime employees of Capital Brewery
in Middleton, formed Wisconsin
Brewing Co. after they made an unsuccessful bid in 2011 to buy Capital Brewery
. The duo then began scouring the region for a place to start a brewery, and they found some property just off Highway 18-151 at the intersection of highways M and PB.
Their new project attracted the support of dozens of investors and is debt-free, having raised $8 million from those investors. The facility was built by developer John Livesey with the understanding that WBC, which contributed $400,000 to the construction costs, would someday buy the building. The city of Verona kicked in $600,000 in tax incremental financing for construction costs.
KirbyNelson, the brewmaster who spent 25 years at Capital Brewery
brewed and tested WBC’s initial recipes at the Great Dane and Vintage Brewing Co., where 2,500 glasses each of Bold & Robust Porter, WBC Amber lager, American IPA (India pale ale) and Session IPA were served.
Brewing’s taproom can hold a couple hundred visitors, its walls lined with large two-story windows that look out into the brewery and outside towards an adjacent pond and the landscape of the Verona Technology Park. Beers are dispersed from a large stainless steel pipe that hangs from the ceiling and terminates with a dozen taps directly above a long wooden bar.