Burlington’s Budding Brewery Scene Is Doubling in Size

Low Daily Beer is opening in downtown Burlington this fall. It’s the second brewery to open there since the spring.

Before this summer, Burlington was without a craft brewery. The Runaway Micropub and Nanobrewery ended the drought when it officially opened in June. On Friday (Sept. 18), the craft brewery count doubles when Low Daily Beer has its grand opening.

“Yep, after 64 years without locally made beer, Burlington now has two (breweries),” said Low Daily owner and head brewer Tim Sullivan. “We are in very close proximity to each other, so it will be a great destination for beer drinkers. There are a lot exciting things happening in this city, with new energy being injected into the downtown area.”

He located the Low Daily taproom in the former Burlington Standard-Press building (700 N. Pine St.), which is indeed just around the corner from The Runaway. The space includes a large beer garden and an interior with ample brick and exposed wood rafters that contribute to a cozy but modern vibe.

Tim, Flynn and Claire Sullivan. Photo courtesy of Mike Ramczyk.
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Sullivan was born and raised in Burlington, but headed West to earn some serious brewing chops. Shortly after moving to San Diego in 2015, he sought a job at Karl Strauss Brewing Co., an early pioneer on the craft beer scene. After three tries at applying for a spot on the bottling line, he was finally hired. He quickly moved up to the brewing team where he learned about larger-scale craft brewing on the job.

He later worked alongside well-known brewer John Harris at Ecliptic Brewing in the craft beer mecca of Portland. That’s when he decided to make the move back home to Wisconsin to open his own place.

Photo courtesy of Tim Sullivan

“There was definitely a ‘deer in the headlights’ element to it all,” explained Sullivan. “I am incredibly grateful to have cut my teeth at Karl Strauss. I went from homebrewing five-gallon batches in my kitchen to brewing 1,860-gallon batches in a matter of months. It was sink or swim, but I was lucky enough to work alongside an incredibly talented group of brewers. Ecliptic was wild. I had no idea who John Harris was when I applied for a job there, but very quickly understood the respect and adoration he has garnered from the brewing community throughout his career.”

Opening Low Daily gives Sullivan the chance to choose the styles he wants to brew. It also lets him get creative.

Added Sullivan: “I’m going to start out by producing many different varieties, and consumer preference will help dictate which styles I lean on more than others. But there will always be experimentation—whether that’s through ingredients, processes, or collaborations. Having been a shift brewer, you produce a lot of the same beers, so you come to understand how small deviations in your process result in subtle differences in the finished product. But now I can make anything I want, so I am pretty excited about that.”

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Dan Murphy has been reviewing bars for Milwaukee Magazine for roughly 15 years. He’s been doing his own independent research in them for close to 25.