Newcomer to Green Bay craft brewing scene sees opportunity

Newcomer to Green Bay craft brewing scene, Badger State Brewing Co.,  sees signs of opportunity, growth.
Newcomer to Green Bay craft brewing scene, Badger State Brewing Co., sees signs of opportunity, growth.

GREEN BAY – It's safe to say the love of beer saturates the entire state of Wisconsin.

And a newcomer to the Green Bay craft beer scene is looking to fill more people's pints.

Tucked inside the back of a plastic bag manufacturing company near Lambeau Field, Sam Yanda goes about his daily routine.

Making beer.

The 30-year-old's beer brewing operation is much larger now, relative to the New Franken native's home brewing beginnings in his basement.

It was about a year ago when he took the step to brew beer, full-time.

"When's the next time I'm going to be able to get this opportunity – brew beer for a living," said Yanda.

He's now head of brewing at Badger State Brewing Company. The career change didn't come easy.

"I was a project manager for an ATM company."

Business partner Andrew Fabry, 24, concocted the business plan. That is, after Yanda taught the psychology major with law school plans how to cook up some home brew of his own.

"That idea stuck in my mind and couldn't get it out,” recalled Fabry, who is the brewery’s president. “And, eventually, I came to (Yanda) and said, 'Hey, let's give this a go! We’re young! We're going to make it happen!’"

They're doing it in a city that has a healthy craft brew scene – with Hinterland, Titletown and Stillmank beers whetting people's palates.

"We always joked that it would feel real when we could walk into a bar and buy the beer – you know – that we made."

And in very few places can you find all four craft brewers’ beers, on tap, in one location. Well, this week, here in Green Bay, you can have that chance.

"Four people that make their own beer in Green Bay, Wisconsin, that's...I don't think that's something anyone could have envisioned, maybe 10 years ago," said Adams St. Pub co-owner Beau Gille.

Two years ago last week, Gille and friend Brooks Renard took over the Adams Street bar in downtown Green Bay.

Since, Wisconsin-only craft beers have graced the bar's 14 taps. This week, selections of Green Bay's craft breweries will take over.

"The four of 'em. All in one place, at one time," said Gille of the event, also serving as a way to celebrate the two-year anniversary of his operation.

The craft beer offering is a reality Gille says is borne out of Northeast Wisconsin's growing appreciation for craft beers. Especially as Hinterland, Titletown, Stillmank and Badger State expand operations.

"The goal is definitely to saturate the greater Green Bay area," said Fabry.

With flavorful beers, often rooted in simple beginnings.

Badger State beer is only available at the brewery and two downtown Green Bay bars – Adams St. Pub and The Libertine on Washington Street.

Hinterland and Stillmank (WiscoDisco) can be found in area stores, bars and restaurants. Titletown beer is available on tap at many establishments across the state – you can also buy it directly from the brewery.