Gathering Place Brewing Company has purchased the assets of Stock House Brewing and will open a taproom in the former Stock House space at 7208 W. North Ave. in East Tosa.
Stock House’s principal owners told its shareholders they were seeking a buyer earlier this summer and could close.
Stock House shuttered its taproom and two-barrel brewhouse on Aug. 25.
Gathering Place expects to open its satellite taproom in the space after some minor changes, hopefully by late September, says Gathering Place founder Joe Yeado.
Yeado says the walkability of East Tosa was a draw.
“We've been looking for a second location for a couple years now in a place that had more foot traffic, Yeado notes. “We love our Riverwest neighborhood, but we're in a spot that's off the beaten path.”
Yeado said he reached out to Stock House co-principal Aaron Morrill in early July and once it became clear that Stock House’s investors were not interested in purchasing the business, Morrill reconnected.
“We started a process that has resulted in us purchasing the assets of the company and then working with the landlord to sign a new lease, because their lease was going to be up in February,” Yeado says.
“My interest was that we would utilize this space as a satellite taproom, much in the way that we would have with Bay View. So that purchase of their assets only works if the space comes with it. So, taking over the last four months of their lease doesn't make it sense.
“The landlord was very interested in that space being maintained as a brewery, and so we were able to work with him to get a new lease so it's a clean transition.”
Yeado added that the addition of the Tosa location will not halt plans to open a brewery and taproom in the planned Flour and Feed food hall in Bay View, a project that has been in the works for three years.
Gathering Place has been hosting a beer garden at that site, 2160 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., for two summers.
“I see this as a separate project with its own set of advantages and its own unique qualities,” Yeado says. “I see them as complimentary, and if you look at up on a map, the Tosa location is eight miles from here, seven miles from here, and the Bay View location is eight miles from here, all in different directions.
“(Bay View) is a project we remain excited about.”
Once federal and state approvals are in place, Yeado says Gathering Place will likely fire up the Stock House brewing system. In the meantime, the taproom will serve beers brewed at the Riverwest location, 811 E. Vienna Ave.
He does not expect to expand the system, however.
“The Tosa location is constrained,” he admits. “Ceiling height is part of it. Aaron and the Stock House group had actually purchased an upgraded brewing system, but I don't think they had space. I'm not sure that all the equipment fit in the building, and if it did, it might have needed an upgraded level of electrical service that was cost prohibitive too. So they didn't do it.
“That space can't support a meaningful quantity, in terms of production. I think it's a great spot. But what you get there is experimentation, and you can test recipes, and you can innovate. The main system (in Riverwest) is being used to maintain supply of a core, but the pilot system and how I think about this Tosa space and Bay View is that we would be able to maintain variety, which is what brings people to the taproom.”
Speaking of the taproom, the Tosa map mural will stay, says Yeado, who adds that he has plans to enhance the patio seating out back. That work is expected to be complete by spring 2023.
“Wauwatosa has been very good to us in support over the years, both from a number of our customers who live there as well as accounts like Ray's, who was one of the first to carry us in cans, and restaurants in Tosa,” says Yeado. “Our beer is served at the Tosa Beer Garden at Hoyt Park.”
Yeado also foresees the kind of relationship with neighborhood breweries that Gathering Place enjoys with its Riverwest brewing colleagues.
“Much like we have here in the Riverwest neighborhood, we would look to partner with Vennture and Fermentorium and Lion's Tail when they arrive later this fall to build the North Avenue brewing destination much the way that Lakefront, Black Husky, Company and Amorphic and us have done that in Riverwest,” he says.
“We've seen the benefits of that collaboration. The neighborhood supports all of those breweries. So they like to see us work together, and I think it will be a similar feeling in the Tosa community. With the rise of beer tourism, I think that stretch of North Avenue will really hopefully benefit from there being a cluster of breweries.”
Yeado notes that the distance between Vennture and Lion’s Tail is two miles, the same as the distance between Gathering Place and Lakefront in Riverwest.
Stock House Brewing was opened in November 2018 in East Tosa by Mark Mahoney and Paul Hepp, both of whom have since left the business. When demand outstripped supply, it began to serve beer brewed by other area breweries, too, including Gathering Place and Bay View’s Component.
“Stock House Brewing Company is very honored and excited that we have been able to come to an agreement with Gathering Place,” said Morrill in a statement.
“We feel that Gathering Place is the perfect fit for our location and is understanding of the community that we have worked so hard to build over the last 4 years. Gathering Place is going to be the perfect company to leave our customers in good hands and help take this location and community to the next level.”
Morrill has been hired by Dead Bird Brewing.
Gathering Place opened in Riverwest in 2017. And in just a few months it could jump from one location to three.
“Opening a taproom in Tosa feels like a natural extension of the brewery,” said Tom Ems, Sales Associate for Gathering Place Brewing. “We regularly deliver beer around the community and it’ll be exciting to have a tasting room in the city.”
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.