Broken Bat Brewing Co. is a baseball-themed brewery and taproom located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The brewery was founded in 2017 by Tim Pauly and Dan McElwee, two lifelong residents of Milwaukee, childhood friends, and Milwaukee Brewers fans, came up with the idea of starting a baseball-themed brewery while enjoying some of McElwee’s homebrew in 2013, while watching a Brewers game. They realized that they shared a love for both the sport and craft beer and saw an opportunity to combine their passions. Their friendship goes all the way back to their first-grade days on the reading carpet at St. Sebastian’s grade school.
Inspired by their love for both baseball and craft beer, Pauly and McElwee decided to combine their passions and create Broken Bat Brewing. The name “Broken Bat” is a nod to the intense moments in baseball when a bat shatters upon impact with the ball, symbolizing the dedication, skill, and effort that go into the game. The brewery’s original logo features a broken bat with a baseball in flight.
In 2014, Broken Bat Brewing Company was officially established, with Pauly and McElwee first opening their brewery on the lower level at 231 E. Buffalo St., in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward neighborhood, on April7, 2017. Milwaukee, a city known for its rich brewing heritage and avid baseball culture, was a perfect fit for their concept. They wanted to create a space where fans could gather to enjoy great beer while celebrating their shared love for the sport.
The first four beers on tap paid homage to baseball: Double Play IPA, a double IPA; Climb the Wall Farmhouse Ale; Straight Ahead Chedd, an apricot pale ale; and Mint Condition, a porter with a hint of infused mint.
Broken Bat Brewing now offers a variety of craft beers that are inspired by America’s favorite pastime. Their beer lineup includes a range of styles, from traditional ales and lagers to experimental brews. Some of their popular offerings include “Double Play IPA,” “Curveball Kolsch,” “Brew City Brown,” and “Pinch Hitter Pilsner.” They also have seasonal and limited-release beers, so there’s always something new to try.
In May 15 after steam and water damaged everything the brewery experienced a temporary closure lasting three months. This incident caused scalding hot steam to spread throughout the brewing system for approximately three hours until it was eventually shut off.
The brewery’s collaboration with major league players like Tim Dillard and its partnership with the Lakeshore Chinooks minor league baseball team helped it gain popularity and expand its reach. The fact that the brewery outgrew its initial small space is a positive sign of success, as it indicates a growing customer base and increased demand for its beer.
Being able to sell beer at Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs, would provided the brewery with great exposure and growth opportunities. This meant that the brewery quickly outgrew its small space and Paule and McElwee announced they’d found a new space across the river in Walker’s Point
To support the establishment of their new brewery, Pauly and McElwee liquidated all their assets at the seven-barrel Buffalo Street location, selling them to Wizard Works. Additionally, Wizard Works assumed control of the former Broken Bat space.
The brewery moved its new location in the Walker’s Point neighborhood in 2020. The new location is larger and has more space for brewing, as well as an indoor Wiffleball field and a taproom with plenty of seating and TVs.
Broken Bat underwent some exciting changes at their new location in Walker’s Point. They have installed a state-of-the-art 20-barrel brew system, surpassing their previous annual production record of around 600 barrels. Alongside this, they have also introduced a canning line, allowing for increased output and distribution.
The taproom, spanning an impressive 4,500 square feet, boasts a stunning live-edge wooden bar top crafted from slices of a majestic tree that was expertly varnished, resulting in a beautiful shine. Adorned with baseball memorabilia, including jerseys, balls, bats, and baseball-themed posters promoting Broken Bat brews, the taproom also features cabinets filled with bobbleheads on loan from the nearby National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum. Offering a delightful ambiance, the taproom houses 16 tap lines, as well as canned beer options.
The most exciting addition to the new space is the inclusion of a Wiffle Ball field. Previously utilized for the production of construction scaffolding and the storage of Royal Enfield motorcycles, this expansive area has now been transformed into a lively Wiffle Ball field. The field is available for rentals and attracts leagues three to four nights a week.
By relocating to Walker’s Point, Broken Bat Brewery has not only gained the ability to accommodate larger production volumes but has also expanded its operations and diversified the experiences it offers to customers. Despite crossing the river, the brewery remains closely connected to its original location, fostering its ties with the local community while also reaching a broader audience.
Broken Bat Brewery expanded its reach and involvement with the Northwoods League a minor baseball league. In 2019, they sold Chinooks 19 IPA at Kapco Park, which is where the Lakeshore Chinooks play. And in 2020, they are taking it a step further by brewing a custom beer for the entire Northwoods League and making it available in all 21 stadiums across seven states in the Midwest.
It’s impressive that Broken Bat Brewery has established distributor relationships in those seven states. This would help ensure that their custom beer reaches fans and enthusiasts throughout the region. This expansion demonstrates their commitment to the league and their passion for creating unique beer experiences for baseball fans.
Since its opening, Broken Bat Brewing Co. has quickly become a popular destination for Milwaukee Brewers fans and craft beer lovers alike. The brewery has won numerous awards for its beers, and it has been featured in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Men’s Journal. In addition to its award-winning beers, Broken Bat Brewing Co. is also known for its commitment to giving back to the community. The brewery partners with local charities and organizations, and it donates a portion of its proceeds to support important causes.
IPA – New England / Hazy
This Mosaic IPA is as juicy as they come, just like the fastball your teammate just fouled off into the dugout almost taking a bite out of your pitching coach’s left shoulder. Slightly cloudy with a floral nose, this NE style IPA is perfect for Fall and Winter months as we celebrate the end of another magical baseball season and wait for pitchers and catchers to report next February.
Lager – Mexican
Our Mexican style Lager that isn’t afraid to mix it up on the base paths. Named in honor of the great Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez, The Jet never met a rundown he wasn’t willing to get into as long as he had his PF Flyers and Dodgers jersey. Fermented with a hint of fresh lime, Corre Corre always has the green-light.
An American Cream Ale, this light crusher checks all the boxes. Brewed for the bleachers at a ball game, few brews we make will remind you of the Boys of Summer quite like this one.
NOTE: Enjoyed this beer while tailgating at Miller Park (yes it shows another name but it will always be Miller Park), Home of the Milwaukee Brewers
IPA – Imperial / Double New England / Hazy
An ode to the greatest punch-out in MLB history, if John “The Ripper” Tumpane is behind the dish, you’d better not get caught looking with 2 strikes. Just like a hitter meeting his demise at the plate, don’t get caught without this delicious summer IPA.
Corn Beer / Chicha de Jora
A ballpark ale brewed with the actual corn harvested from the Field of Dreams movie site, ‘Can of Corn’ was brewed to bring those who truly love the purity of the game together, just like Ray built the field. find your seat and dream a little, grab a cold one, and enjoy two of America’s greatest pastimes, beers and baseball.
Wheat Beer – Witbier / Blanche
Sauternes Wine Barrel-Aged Belgian Wit- Ricky Vaughn didn’t become “Wild Thing” until he wore his hallowed skull glasses, same as ‘Just a Wit Outside’ doesn’t become RICKY without a 5-month bath in sauternes wine oak barrels. As complex and refreshing as we can make it, this brew is sure to make your heart sing.