MobCraft's Giotto Troia.
MobCraft Beer is setting its sights on opening a taproom and production brewery in Milwaukee. The Madison-based company, which opened in 2013 and has been making its beers at House of Brews on the east side, is planning a move to 505 S. 5th St. in the Milwaukee neighborhood known as Walker’s Point.
"We hope to have the taproom on line by the end of summer and the brewery by the end of next winter,” says MobCraft co-owner and founder Giotto Troia. The building that MobCraft plans to renovate is approximately 14,000 square feet.
Milwaukee beer enthusiasts often call the Walker’s Point neighborhood the "Brew-muda Triangle," with the Milwaukee Brewing Company, Brenner Brewing, the Milwaukee Ale House and the Great Lakes Distillery nearby.
Troia says he and his partners wanted to stay in Madison. However, when the Walker’s Point building became available, its design and the location, with its potential for high foot traffic, changed their plans. “In Madison there just were not so many areas with high foot traffic and the demographic that we are looking to attract,” he says.
Troia says the company will keep production in Madison until production in Milwaukee is up and running, which could be next February or March.
“We don’t intend to leave Madison high and dry," Troia says; he and his partners would like to build a tied house taproom in the Madison area "within two years."
MobCraft got its start as a "crowdsource" brewery — people submitted ideas for beers through the MobCraft website and then voted on which would be produced.
Their beers have mostly been available in 22-ounce bomber bottles and on tap in select Madison taverns and restaurants. Just this week MobCraft started releasing its new Sour Stash series of beers sold in four-packs of 12-ounce bottles. And next month, MobCraft plans to start offering a few of its beers in cans.
The proposed new brewery in Milwaukee will allow modest expansion, to give MobCraft its own 15-barrel brew house, and an approximately 4,000-square-foot taproom. Some light food will probably be offered.
Troia estimates that renovations and additions will cost around $2 million. MobCraft is currently seeking a variance in the zoning for the building, and if approved, renovations will begin immediately. Renovations may include green design elements such as heat-recovery systems and solar water heating. Also planned: an outdoor patio for live music.