MILWAUKEE – On downtown Milwaukee’s south side, Milwaukee Brewing Company produces about 6,000 barrels of its own beer (more than 180,000 gallons) each year.
And tightly wedged in-between its production is Brad Stillmank’s modest amount of about 280 barrels – or about 8,600 gallons.
“We’ve been working for two years now peppering our brands in between all of the brands that those guys are doing down here,” said Stillmank. “These guys are great about giving us the space we need, when we need it.”
The beer that the Madison-born and Milwaukee-raised brewer’s been bringing home to Northeast Wisconsin since 2011 got its name from a dream to own a chain of Wisconsin-themed bars with a friend.
“A good buddy of mine, Spencer, actually coined the term,” said Stillmank. “And he said, ‘Oh! It’ll be cool! We’ll call it the Wisco Disco.’ There was never any idea to pursue that – it was just over some beers.”
So when Stillmank started Stillmank Brewing Co., he needed a beer name to put his brewery on the map.
The answer was simple.
“It just clicked,” said Stillmank. “This is our fit and [Wisco Disco] is what we’re going to use to start our company.”
Stillmank says he’s been lucky to have Milwaukee Brewing Company brew, can and keg his beers for the last several years. But with Milwaukee Brewing Company looking to expand its own production and get out of contract brewing, Stillmank says there was no better time to bring his beers, back home.
A place to call home
At Mills and Henry Streets on Green Bay’s east side is the final piece to Stillmank’s dream.
“Now, we’re laying down our roots, here, where we always intended to,” said Stillmank.
Stillmank stayed in Colorado after college to brew beer.
Married with two kids, he has a full-time job in the Green Bay area with a beer distributor, as – interestingly enough – its craft beer brand representative.
After poring over nearly 50 spots around town, the old Builders Supply warehouse will ferment this summer into the city’s fourth bricks-and-mortar craft brewery and tasting room.
That is once the building is virtually gutted and all the brewing equipment is installed.
Stillmank will officially close on the building April 1 – no joke. He hopes to be selling Green Bay-brewed beers by September.
“I’ll start bringing in kegs today,” said Stillmank, when he gave FOX 11 a tour of his vision. “You know, might as well start filling this place up!”
He credits longtime Green Bay craft brewers Hinterland and Titletown for growing the area’s craft beer interest.
“They’ve laid down a foundation,” said Stillmank. “Fortunate as heck to be a part of this growing community.”
The craft brewing industry counts 92 craft brewers across the state.