The sale of the former Milwaukee Brewing Company facility is official as Chicago-based Pilot Project Brewing Company announced today that it closed on a seed round fundraise of $8 million to put toward purchasing the lease on the brewery – found at 1128 N. 9th St. – as well as the Bottlehouse 42 space.
Based at 2140 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago, Pilot Project describes itself as "a purpose-driven, collaborative, and artistically curious brewing facility and tasting room to help support talented brewers in an industry with exceptionally high barriers. Modeled after the music industry, Pilot serves as a launch pad for start-up breweries, offering assistance with fine-tuning recipes, production scaling, business development, marketing, distribution and, with the addition of the Milwaukee facility, unencumbered growth potential."
“Pilot Project was established to support creativity, diversity and innovation in an industry that often overlooks it or maintains unreasonable barriers to allow it,” said Pilot Project co-founder and CEO Dan Abel, in a release. “By bringing Pilot back to Wisconsin, where Jordan (Radke, fellow Pilot Project co-founder) and I went to school, we are introducing a business focused on catalyzing innovation to the birthplace of disruption in brewing. The Milwaukee Brewing facility is a former Pabst building, and we are eager to participate and continue the legacy of innovation rooted in this city and support creativity in brewing nationwide.”
In describing its additional plans for its new Milwaukee location, the brewery's press release noted "the new facility will become a playground for Pilot Project's incubated brands and will support their national growth out of the Midwest."
Last month, Milwaukee Brewing Company posted on social media that the taproom would close on Aug. 30, with OnMilwaukee shortly after reporting that Pilot Project was lined up to take over the space.
In September 2018, Milwaukee Brewing moved from its original, much smaller Walker's Point facility to its new brewery – one constructed constructed in 1977 as a distribution center for Pabst Brewing Co. Then, in March this past year, MKE Brewing's owners announced the brewery was for sale.
"We want to send out a very heartfelt THANK YOU to all of our patrons that have enjoyed our tours and taproom over the years," the brewery wrote in a social media post. "It has been an honor to serve you and this city."
At the time of the closing announcement, co-founder Jim McCabe told Chris Drosner that he hoped the familiar Milwaukee Brewing brands will continue to be made at the facility.
For more updates and information on Pilot Project's move into Milwaukee and into the former Milwaukee Brewing Company facility, stay tuned to OnMilwaukee.
Matt Mueller contributed to this report.
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.