The history of the Wisconsin Brewing Company (WBC) in Verona, WI is a tale of passion, perseverance, and a commitment to crafting exceptional brews. Founded in 2013, this brewery has quickly become a prominent figure in the state’s thriving craft beer scene. Let’s delve into the story behind the Wisconsin Brewing Company and explore its remarkable journey.
The roots of the WBC can be traced back to its co-founders, Carl Nolen, his brother mike and the future headbrewer, Kirby Nelson, who shared a vision of creating high-quality, locally brewed beers that would reflect the spirit and flavors of the Badger State. With extensive experience in the brewing industry, including notable stints at major breweries, Nolen and Nelson brought their expertise and enthusiasm to Verona, a small city located just outside of Madison, Wisconsin’s capital.
In their quest to establish the WBC, Nolen and Nelson faced numerous challenges. They had to navigate the complexities of licensing, secure funding, and design a brewery that could accommodate their ambitious production goals. Despite these hurdles, their determination remained unyielding.
Finally, in 2013, their dream became a reality when WBC opened its doors, ready to make its mark in Wisconsin’s brewing landscape. From the outset, the brewery set itself apart by embracing a philosophy centered on quality, community, and innovation.
One of the defining aspects of the WBC’s history is its commitment to sourcing ingredients locally. Recognizing the abundance of agricultural resources in Wisconsin, the brewery forged partnerships with local farmers to secure top-notch ingredients for its beers. This emphasis on local sourcing not only supports the state’s economy but also ensures the freshest and highest quality ingredients make their way into each batch of beer.
Not stopping there, WBC set out to create a brewery that truly reflects the spirit of their home. They took pride in selecting every piece of equipment and material, ensuring that it bore the mark of Wisconsin craftsmanship. From the steel sourced in Waunakee to the steamwork hailing from Milwaukee, every component was thoughtfully chosen, paying homage to the skill and expertise found within their borders. The blacktop that paves their way comes from Waukesha, while the electrical systems hum with energy from Mt. Horeb. they even secured a genuine Huppmann Brewhouse, designed in Germany but expertly constructed in Hudson, Wisconsin—a testament to the fusion of old-world tradition and the finest of modern brewing technology.
Another significant milestone in the history of t WBC was the construction of its state-of-the-art facility in Verona. Designed to blend aesthetics, functionality, and sustainability, the brewery stands as a testament to the founders’ dedication to excellence. This expansive facility boasts modern brewing equipment, ample space for fermentation and storage, and a welcoming taproom where visitors can sample a wide array of beers.
As the brewery grew, so did its reputation. WBC became synonymous with quality craftsmanship and innovative brewing techniques. Its lineup of beers, ranging from classic styles to experimental brews, consistently delighted beer enthusiasts across the state and beyond. Whether it’s their flagship amber ale, an award-winning IPA, or a seasonal release, WBC’s beers are celebrated for their exceptional flavors and attention to detail.
Furthermore, the brewery’s commitment to its community is an integral part of its history. WBC has consistently been involved in philanthropic initiatives and local events, fostering a strong bond with the Verona and Madison communities. From fundraisers to charity events, the brewery has demonstrated a genuine dedication to giving back and supporting the causes that matter to its customers.
The culmination of their endeavors is a remarkable facility, an embodiment of the harmonious marriage between artistry and innovation. Stepping through their doors, one is greeted by a space that hums with creativity and passion. It is a testament to the union of craftsmanship and cutting-edge technology. Here, they have the capacity to potentially brew an astounding 300,000 barrels annually, a testament to their unwavering dedication to their craft and the incredible demand for their beers.
Within these walls, the soul of Wisconsin is infused into every drop of beer that WBC produces. It is the collective effort of their team, the spirit of their community, and the indomitable essence of their state that culminate in each pint. They strive to create flavors that reflect the diversity and character of Wisconsin, showcasing the artistry and vision that define their craft.
In what marked a significant milestone for the Wisconsin craft beer industry, WBC made history with the acquisition of Lake Louie in 2019, becoming the first Wisconsin-based brick and mortar brewing company to be acquired by another state craft beer producer.
Seeking to expand and diversify its business, WBC embarked on a substantial $6 million expansion project in the fall of 2019. As part of this expansion, the brewery ventured into producing non-alcoholic health and nutritional beverages on contract for other companies. This strategic move had the potential to increase the Verona brewing facility’s production capacity by an impressive 80,000 barrels per year. It was a notable departure from their traditional focus on beer production. In 2018, the Verona brewing facility produced 18,404 barrels of beer, serving its own brand as well as other beer companies on contract. This placed WBC as the fourth largest craft brewery in the state, as per data from the State Department of Revenue.
The decision to expand into non-alcoholic health and nutritional beverages showcased WBC’s vision to adapt to evolving consumer trends and tap into new markets. By utilizing their existing brewing infrastructure and expertise, they were able to leverage their resources and enter the rapidly growing market for non-alcoholic beverages. This diversification not only broadened their product offerings but also contributed to the growth of the Verona brewing facility, solidifying its position as a key player in the Wisconsin craft beverage industry.
The $6 million expansion project encompassed various aspects, including the acquisition of Lake Louie’s assets and brands, which further strengthened WBC’s presence and capabilities. Lake Louie, a well-established brewing company in Wisconsin, brought with it a loyal customer base and a portfolio of renowned beer brands. The acquisition allowed WBC to expand its reach, enhance its brand portfolio, and leverage the expertise and reputation of Lake Louie to bolster its own position in the market.
By increasing its production capacity and diversifying its offerings, WBC demonstrated its commitment to meeting consumer demand and remaining competitive in an ever-changing industry. The expansion not only had economic implications but also created opportunities for job growth and contributed to the overall development of the Verona brewing facility.
IPA – American
Also marketed as Wisconsin #002 Yankee Buzzard IPA. Wisconsin Brewing Company’s American IPA is “all about a good malt foundation and a whole lotta’ hops.” Brewed with Wisconsin-grown Centennial, Chinook and Columbus varieties with west coast Cascade, this brew “packs a symphony of flavor.”
Lager – Amber / Red
A real pleasant, well balanced beer. Highly drinkable with a sound malt portfolio with a moderate amber richness and depth of flavor. Willamette variety Hops from Gorst Valley were used in this brew because they are known for their woody, earthy & pleasant flavor accents.
IPA – Session
#004 delivers a palateful of hoppiness in a sessionable fashion. Brewer’s, Aromatic & Caramel malt provide the platform allowing Nugget, Cascade & Tettnang hops to combine and deliver a unique & rich aroma and flavor. All accomplished over a relatively low ABV making this an extended conversation ale.
Lager – American Amber / Red
Rich red, moderately bod yet delightfully drinkable. Inaugural Red is a dark red lager that inspires education, togetherness and innovation! The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Campus Craft Brewery and Wisconsin Brewing Company have come together to create a unique educational experience for the students all across campus. As the first beer from this student-led initiative, Inaugural Red invites you to relax, reminisce, and enjoy this one-of-a-kind labor celebrating all that is Wisconsin!