Barley to Barrel Program

If You Haven’t Heard of Milwaukee’s 10-Week Barley to Barrel Class, Now’s Your Chance to Check it Out

The Barley to Barrel program hosts a release party tonight at Company Brewing. Get a glimpse at what’s in store for the future of brewing in Milwaukee.

Barley to Barrel is a 10-week class that guides prospective brewers through every step of the process of launching a brewery, right down to selling their brew to real restaurants and bars.

The Barley to Barrel program benefits from a robust Milwaukee craft beer scene. And the Milwaukee beer scene gains from having something like Barley to Barrel in town. It’s a win-win.

It’s not about just the actual brewing; the learning includes seminars that cover sales and distribution, licensing issues, and marketing tactics. Barley to Barrel is run by the CrafterSpace and lists local luminaries like Lakefront Brewery founder Russ Klisch and Milwaukee Brewing founder Jim McCabe as mentors.

“We hear (feedback) that people are glad they learned about some of the topics we review but that don’t come out anywhere else,” said CrafterSpace co-founder John Graham. “For example, we dug into how to insure a brewery in the last week. That’s not a topic that is discussed on a brewery’s Twitter feed, but it’s a very important topic.”

On Wednesday, Nov. 15, the third iteration of Barley to Barrel hosts a launch party at Company Brewing (735 E. Center St.). It’s a graduation of sorts for fall participants, and that means the release of three different beers crafted by the group. The creations are Snowy Kromer Spiced Winter Cream Ale, Hideout Old Fashioned Ale and Bay View Brunch Brown Ale. Party attendees get to hear the stories of the brewers, sample all three brews and vote for their favorite.

“We created Barley to Barrel to help aspiring brewers get started on their path to owning their own brewery,” explained Graham. “We don’t have our own brewery yet, but we did not want to delay, so we initiated the Barley to Barrel program with our partners at Ward4 and our brewing partners Company Brewing, Milwaukee Ale House and Enlightened Brewing.”

Barley to Barrel debuted in the spring of 2016. The fourth installation is slated for spring of 2018.

“The mission hasn’t changed,” added Graham. “We want to continue on the path of making Milwaukee the beer town it should be. The brewing scene in Milwaukee has taken some gigantic steps. We have our standard-bearers growing and expanding, we have new brewers big and small operating in neighborhoods all over the city and new breweries opening in the suburbs. We have brewers using all kinds of methods to make beer, big commercial operations, small traditional breweries, nanobreweries, brewpubs and everything in between. It’s wonderful to see the breadth of styles and business models!”

Barley to Barrel Fall 2017 Class Beer Release Party

Where: Company Brewing, 735 E. Center St.
When: Wednesday, Nov. 15, 6 to 9 p.m.
Tickets: $16



Dan Murphy has been reviewing bars for Milwaukee Magazine for roughly 20 years. He’s been doing his own independent research in them for a few years more.