A pioneer for craft beer, Lakefront Brewery has paved the way for the bustling Milwaukee beer scene. Earning a place as a Milwaukee landmark over 30+ years, a visit to Lakefront Brewery has become a must-do when in Milwaukee. Whether it’s their award-winning beer, nationally acclaimed brewery tours, or their restaurant full of it’s own accolades (we can’t rave enough about their cheese curds!), Lakefront Brewery has something to offer everyone. To double down on their promise of a good time for all, the brewery launched a monthly Drag Queen Bingo Night starring Milwaukee favorite, Ester Flonaze.
Brewery President, Russ Klisch tells us a little more about his company and its history:
Why did you decide to join the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber?
Put simply, we wanted to support the Wisconsin LGBT community. It is good business to be part of the Chamber for business connections and to keep our name out in front of our friends.
Tell us a bit about your business and what you do.
On December 2nd, 1987, my brother Jim Klisch and I opened Lakefront Brewery and sold our first batch of Riverwest Stein to a neighborhood tavern in Milwaukee. We have grown to brew 46,848 barrels of beer in 2017 and have received awards in most every renowned beer competition. Our products are now distributed to 30+ states, Canada, Ukraine and South Korea. Lakefront Brewery was the first certified organic brewery in America, the first brewery to produce a government-approved, gluten-free beer and the first indigenous beer using all Wisconsin grown ingredients. We currently brew 30+ year-round and seasonal beers including a barrel-aged series and our unique, My Turn Series which gives each of our full time employees a chance to choose a style we’ve never produced.
What do you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
Besides having a crystal ball to know the latest trends in the industry, I’d liked to have had a better knowledge of how to finance the brewery and understand the metrics of what the bankers are looking for when giving you a loan.
If you had to chose another career today, what would it be and why?
If I had to choose another career, I’d go back to being a Mechanical Engineer. This is what I was doing before I got into the brewing industry.
Cheers to you, Lakefront!