Old masters, New Tricks: LakeFront Brewery is the most awarded Craft Beer Brewery of all Wisconsin Breweries
Based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Lakefront Brewery was founded in 1987 by brothers Russ and Jim Klisch. It all started after Russ gave Jim a book on beer making for his birthday, and Jim made a rather remarkable homebrew. Russ, feeling the sibling rivalry, was convinced he could craft a better one...and so began the Klisch brothers entering beer contests and even winning awards for their homemade brews. It wasn’t long before family and friends encouraged Russ and Jim to turn their hobby into a business.
The Klisch brothers decided to start small and chose a location within walking distance of their home - an old bakery building in Riverwest. They sold their first Lakefront Brewery barrel on December 2, 1987 and haven’t looked back since.
With the brewery’s doors open, Lakefront’s popularity grew - and so did their production. By 1988, sales jumped to 72 barrels; by 1989, 125 barrels; and sales began doubling after that. When production reach 3,000 barrels in 1998, Lakefront Brewery had outgrown its tiny space and the Klisch brothers took the operation to Milwaukee. Their new (and current) location housed the Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light Company’s coal-fired power plant in 1908. It was later sold to the City to house Milwaukee’s Forestry Department, and was about to be torn down before Lakefront Brewery moved in. The Klisch brothers have beautifully restored the old building and brought new life into the historic structure.
Today, Lakefront Brewery is known for producing the first certified organic beer to be bottled in the United States (in 1996). Lakefront is also known for changing the government’s policy definition of beer, allowing them to sell and market a gluten-free beer for those intolerant to wheat. Overall, the brewery now produces 36 beers including 9 year-round, 11 seasonal, 3 organic, 1 gluten free, and 12 limited releases.
Lakefront Brewery encourages visitors to come taste and enjoy their innovative, award-winning brews at their stunning brewhouse in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Don’t miss out on their brewery tour either - it’s voted one of the best in the country by ABC News!