The 5-year-old Riverwest brewery will make the former Stock House space at 7208 W. North Ave., which closed last week, its second location. The opening is planned for late September after Gathering Place can clear federal and local red tape.
“We have received so much support from the Wauwatosa community over the years and we are excited to now have a location to deepen our connections in the city,” Gathering Place founder Joe Yeado said in a press release. “We look forward to building upon the foundation that Stock House created and continuing the legacy of that space as a brewery.”
Stock House closed after a farewell party on Thursday; its website and social media have already gone dark. Primary owners Aaron and David Morrill and Laura Sommerfeld – who had taken over the business from its founders last year – said in July they were seeking to sell the business for $100,000 or would close it by Aug. 31.
Yeado told Milwaukee Magazine that Gathering Place is purchasing the assets of Stock House, not the business, and has negotiated a new lease for the space. “The opportunity just came out of the blue, and after having conversations with Aaron it became clear we shared a similar philosophy, both with what they built in that space and what we were looking for,” Yeado said.
In stepping into Stock House’s brief void, Gathering Place also steps into a growing beer scene on North Avenue. It stretches from Vennture Brew Co., 5519 W. North Ave.; to The Fermentorium taproom, at 6933 W. North Ave. two blocks from the former Stock House; to the forthcoming Lion’s Tail Brewing brewery and taproom at 8520 W. North Ave. Lion’s Tail, which is based in Neenah, is continuing to renovate the former Wisconsin Garden and Pet Supply building and expects to open this fall, operations and marketing manager Nick Leak said Wednesday.
Yeado sees the same potential for that cluster as in Riverwest, where Gathering Place, Black Husky, Company Brewing, Amorphic and Lakefront have banded together as the Riverwest Brewery Syndicate to offer visit punch cards, beer collaborations and joint events. Neighbors like that collegial spirit, Yeado said.
“They like to see us working together, and I think there’s a real opportunity to build on what Vennture, The Fermentorium and Stock House have already done to link up and make North Avenue a beer destination,” he said.
Gathering Place has long been pursuing a second location, even though it wasn’t supposed to be in Wauwatosa. For three years Yeado has been working on plans for a taproom in the Flour & Feed food hall in Bay View. Those plans, announced in 2020, are intact and Yeado hopes to open that long-delayed taproom by the end of this year.
“I think the Flour & Feed Marketplace is a really cool project,” he said. “We’ve been a part of it since close to the beginning, and want to make that a successful place when it does open.
“We love our Riverwest neighborhood, we are not leaving, but we’re on a bit of an island with regards to other retail-oriented businesses. All these businesses around us are full, but the people inside are only around during the weekdays.”
Since its 2017 opening at 811 E. Vienna Ave., Gathering Place has made a name with traditional European styles with American twists such as its flagship Treffpunkt kölsch, Slightly Askew unfiltered helles and Wonderworker biere de garde. It celebrated its fifth anniversary with a block party on Saturday.
The new location will initially serve as a taproom for beer made at the main brewery, though it may use the small 1½-barrel brewing system eventually after necessary permits are secured. The Riverwest brewery kicks out beer on a seven-barrel system.
There will be “cosmetic changes” to the Stock House taproom, but the plan is to keep the interior mural featuring a map of Wauwatosa. “The back patio will be a focal point of the guest experience, with improvements planned to be completed by next spring,” it said.