Eagle Park takes on a legacy with Milwaukee Brewing Co. brand acquisition

Monday, September 26, 2022
Margaret Naczek, Business Journal

 



MARGARET NACZEK - Jake Schinker is a co-owner of Eagle Park Brewing.

For Eagle Park Brewing Co., still less than a decade old, acquiring one of the most recognizable Milwaukee craft beer brands, obtaining what co-owner Jake Schinker called a built-in legacy, was an opportunity the brewery could not pass up.

Eagle Park Brewing, which opened in 2017 and has facilities in Milwaukee and Muskego, announced Monday it had purchased the intellectual property, branding and recipes of Milwaukee Brewing Co.

Milwaukee Brewing Co. is recognized as the third-oldest craft brewery in the city of Milwaukee. MKE Brewing founder Jim McCabe opened the brewery in 1997, the same year he opened the Milwaukee Ale House at 233 N. Water St. The Milwaukee Ale House closed on Sept. 11. MKE Brewing had its last day of taproom service Aug. 30.

"It was obviously big news when that came out about Milwaukee selling, and there was a lot of people definitely sad about what could potentially happen to a brand that’s been such a staple of the Milwaukee craft beer scene for so long," Schinker said.

Eagle Park co-owners Schinker, Max Borgardt and Jackson Borgardt believe that acquiring the MKE Brewing brands would be a perfect complement to the brewery's portfolio.

"It was very unique and very attractive to us for us to have the ability to take on this Milwaukee legacy that’s been around for 25 years now as a brewery that is so young, that’s one thing we can never have was that built-in legacy. To have that opportunity to carry on the torch now is really exciting," Schinker said.

Eagle Park is known for its more adventurous styles of craft beers. While the brewery does make some traditional beers such as ambers or pilsners, Schinker believed that MKE Brewing is recognized for making "tried and true recipes," ones that Schinker said people stock in their fridge.

"That’s different in that way versus Eagle Park having new beers all the time, having that standby is really important for the MKE brand," he said.

Eagle Park is already producing MKE Brewing beers at its Muskego facility.

Eagle Park has its production facility, which opened in 2020, at S64 W15680 Commerce Center Parkway in Muskego. The brewery's Milwaukee taproom is located at 823 E. Hamilton St.

MKE Brewing beers will be featured at the Hamilton Street location. Schinker said the taproom will serve as a "foster home taproom" from MKE Brewing until Eagle Park can determine the brand's own separate location.

"We think it’s very important for it to keep its home where the namesake is, so in that process, we’re going to take our time and really wait to find the right spot for it. We’re not just going to shoehorn something in. We really want to make that everything it should be as a brewery that holds the name of Milwaukee in that city. It better be special. We’re on the hunt," Schinker said.

The Eagle Park taproom experience, however, will not changed. The brewery will add in MKE Brewing beers and potentially change some of the signage, but Eagle Park customers will still receive the same atmosphere. In addition, Eagle Park Brewing members will be able to use their benefits on MKE Brewing beers as well.

With the acquisition of MKE Brewing, Schinker said Eagle Park plans to add seven new employees. The brewery has just over 90 people currently.

 

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