Michael Holloway
Brew City

Brewing Cooperative Opens Bay View Taproom

New Barons Brewing co-op opens to the public.

By - Oct 1st, 2020 02:30 pm
New Barons Brewing Cooperative, 2018 S. 1st St. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

New Barons Brewing Cooperative, 2018 S. 1st St. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Wisconsin’s first co-op brewery has officially opened their Bay View taproom to the public.

New Barons Brewing Cooperative opened their taproom in the former Wood Violet Tao House at 2018 S. 1st St. on Aug. 26, initially just for their member-owners.

In recent months, the co-op has been growing, even before its new space opened. Over the summer they went from 250 to 300 member-owners. “The response has been really great — it’s almost to our advantage that we have a small space with limited seating that helps for the pandemic side of things,” said President and General Manager Heidi Dalibor.

In true co-op fashion, the taproom came together thanks to helping hands both internally and externally. Co-founder Matt Witterschein built the entire bar from scratch using walnut donated by a member-owner. The walnut timber was also used for shelving, tabletops, ledge bars and a staircase leading to a platform that overlooks the brewery equipment. The plan is for the platform to offer additional seatin, which will come in handy once patio season is over. The taproom’s bar stools came from Fire on Water (518 N. Water St.), a bar that closed for good in June due to the pandemic.

When the brewery poured the cement for their new facility, the last 20 member-owners to sign up were invited to help with the work, and in return, have their name memorialized in the business. “It was neat to get them in there before opening and have them feel included,” Dalibor said.

New Barons is currently offering eight beers on tap, and six-packs and crowlers to-go. It’s newest beer, L-Dubbs, is a collaboration with Component Brewing Company. It’s is a saison that clocks in at 5.0% ABV with notes of bubble gum, spice, floral and fruity aromas. The beer was brewed with wheat, barley and four hops — essentially the only ingredients that were on hand at the time of brewing. It’s a light, low ABV kickoff to the partnership.

New Baron’s actually shares a fermentation tank with Component at their new facility. When New Baron’s was starting out, Enlightened Brewing Company would let the co-op brew on its equipment. Along with the shared tank, New Barons has another tank at their new facility so they can brew two batches of beer simultaneously — a first for the brewery.

The brewery is also offering more benefits for member-owners, such as preemptive access to events like sour tasting and beer and chocolate pairings. It’s also planning a recurring event where member-owners can have a business, product or service featured and can sell their wares at the taproom.

The taproom is open Wednesday and Thursday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday from noon to 11 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. On Sundays when the Packers play at noon, the brewery will open early and offer beermosas — that’s beer and orange juice — and short pours for touchdowns in lieu of touchdown shots.

As for what’s in store for the future of New Barons, Dalibor points to more community outreach. “Stuff that we’re working on right now (includes) another collaboration with some Bay View breweries — forming partnerships with other breweries in the neighborhood as well as educational programs and a guest bartending program that will typically feature member owners every other Thursday.”

Becoming a member brings much more than just a guest bartending opportunity and a fancy title. Member-owners have a hand in what beers are brewed and can run for and vote on the brewery’s Board of Directors. Member-owners receive discounts such as $1 off of all beers on tap and $2 off of four-packs and six-packs. A membership can be purchased for $200 on New Baron’s website.

It’s the member-owners that CEO and Head Brewer John Degroote says are his beer’s “secret ingredient.” Degroote officially established New Barons Brewing Cooperative in 2017 after home brewing for years, eventually deciding that he wanted to turn his passion into a business that would deeply involve his community.

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