Q&A: Hacienda Beer Co. promises the unique with new east side taproom

Q&A: Hacienda Beer Co. promises the unique with new east side taproom

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The latest expansion in Milwaukee's craft beer scene hails from Door County.

On Nov. 21, Door County Brewing Co., founded in 2012 by John McMahon and his family, announced it would bring its Hacienda Beer Co. brand to the first floor of the former G-Daddy’s BBC Bar and Grill space on East North Avenue on Milwaukee's east side. Hacienda is Door County's experimental brand, created roughly a year ago to focus on creative freedom with beers such as milk stout with coffee and maple syrup or an IPA brewed with lactose sugar and peaches.

The new taproom will feature 125 seats and is targeted for opening by Memorial Day weekend 2019. McMahon caught up with the Milwaukee Business Journal to discuss Hacienda's Milwaukee future.

Why did you choose to bring Hacienda to Milwaukee instead of the overall Door County brand?

"We have more flexibility with the Hacienda brand to brew more brands because we brew it on a 15-barrel system instead of a 100-barrel system. You're not going to go into the Hacienda brewery one day and then six months later and have the exact same menu. You'll get way more options and changes in the menu and the styles. There's just that flexibility to offer more.

"Also, Door County is more of a geographical brand. You associate Door County with Door County and it didn't make sense for us to have a Door County Brewing Company in Milwaukee. Our building here is 8,000 square feet. It's a big brewery. It's a destination brewery. It's where people come to meet Door County and to be part of the Door County brewing scene, and that just doesn't transfer. That doesn't travel like Hacienda travels.

"The whole style of Hacienda fits with Milwaukee. It's gritty, it's creative, it's blue collar, it's hands-on. It fits with what Milwaukee's all about."

What did you like about the space you're moving into?

"We looked everywhere. We looked at Bay View, the 3rd Ward; we looked in the suburbs; we looked all over. When we found that space after Josh (Jeffers) bought the building, there was just no question this was where we wanted to be. We love the neighborhood. We love that it's being revitalized with Crossroads Collective and the Oriental being taken over by the Film Festival. Obviously, it's in a historic five corners with Von Trier and Hooligan's and Ian's and Whole Foods. All the new development and the rejuvenation was a perfect fit for what we're all about. The Hacienda brand fits into that neighborhood. When we went over there, we couldn't care less about what it looked like inside. We knew that was the location we wanted to be in."

Do you think Hacienda's experimental style adds something new to the Milwaukee scene?

"There's nobody like Hacienda in the entire state. It's definitely unique. It's totally different from the way anybody else has done brewing in Wisconsin.

"When the building's done, you'll see that it's a different concept and not your typical craft brewery spot."



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