Lake Louie Brewing
A small brewery making a big splash in the Wisconsin beer scene, Lake Louie Brewing proves that a homebrewing obsession and mid-life crisis can become a successful business.
Located on the shores of beautiful Lake Louie (actually a 1/4 acre pond) just outside the village of Arena in Southwest Wisconsin, Lake Louie Brewing has produced premium handcrafted brews since January of 2000. For owner/brewmaster Tom Porter, the brewery started out as a mid-life crisis but it has become quite the little success story over the past twenty years, offering a range of award-winning English-style beers that are distinctive and full of character.
After spending 20+ years in the Engineering field, Tom Porter was looking to make a career change - and a lifestyle change. He had been homebrewing for a few years on the side, and eventually made a business plan to start a small 3 barrel brewery. His plan included cashing in his 401k and converting a metal storage shed into a working brewery, but he was inspired and determined to see it through.
The shed was located on 18.5 acres of land that Tom had purchased from his uncle Louie Carpenter (hence the name ‘Lake Louie’). Lake Louie was actually the skinny dipping pond for area youth, including Tom back in the day! Armed with his business plan, Tom got to work and produced his first commercial beers in 2000, making Lake Louie Brewing the first and only brewery in Arena, Wisconsin.
Against all odds, Lake Louie Brewing saw fairly significant growth in those first few years. In 2002, Tom expanded the brewery to a 15-barrel brew house with more square footage, and by 2007, he made another addition to the building to allow capacity to reach 2,000 barrels. By 2011, he was brewing 4,000 barrels and making a dent in the Wisconsin market. Along the way, Tom also developed a wide range of beer styles and Warped Speed (a Scotch Ale) became his flagship brew.
In 2019, Lake Louie Brewing joined forces with Wisconsin Brewing Company, the 12th-largest craft brewery in the state. The merger has proven to be beneficial to both legacy breweries, with more growth potential and exposure within the state’s now-crowded craft beer landscape. While Lake Louie’s beers are now made at the larger company’s brewing facility in Verona, Tom Porter is still involved in the day-to-day production and uses his original Arena brew house for testing new recipes and crafting specialty seasonal offerings.
We are happy to introduce our Craft Beer Club members to Lake Louie’s ever-popular Warped Speed Scotch Ale along with the Tommy’s Porter. Please enjoy!