Jeramey Jannene

Milwaukee Chip Co. Is Purely Local

New business sells Wisconsin-grown potatoes, locally manufactured, with a unique taste.

By - Mar 24th, 2021 07:17 pm
Milwaukee Chip Company. Image provided.

Milwaukee Chip Company. Image provided.

Many people tried something new to occupy their time when the pandemic set in last March, be it completing puzzles, catching up on television shows or having virtual gatherings with friends.

Michael Moeller? He launched an entirely new business, Milwaukee Chip Company.

Moeller had worked in the food and foodservice industry for almost a decade, most recently on the white-collar side. He describes his prior work as a job done with a laptop, not a food processor. So he had a lot to learn about what goes into making a potato chip

“I’ve always wanted to start my own business. I thought it would be a fun challenge to build something new from scratch.”

“I knew I wanted to make a local potato chip, but I didn’t realize I could do it with a locally-grown potato. In the summer of 2020, as I was learning everything I could about different varieties of potato, I discovered that Wisconsin is the third-largest grower of potatoes in the United States,” said Moeller. “I spent the summer calling and visiting potato farms across Wisconsin, learning all I could about their potato varieties and seasonal availability.”

So while Wisconsin lacks a locally-branded potato chip, it supplies plenty of the ingredients. That meant Moeller didn’t have to go far to find what he needed to make his chips.

“We feel really fortunate to have found Okray Family Farms,” he said. “They’re a fourth-generation family farm in Plover. They grow the special type of potato we prefer. We use a russet potato. It’s different from what’s used in the mass-market potato chips. It has more flavor and more character to it. You can really taste the potato.”

He started the business in Riverwest, but quickly found a home at UpStart Kitchen, 4323 W. Fond du Lac Ave. Created by the Prism Economic Development Corporation, the facility is designed to serve as an incubator for start-up food businesses, with a commercial kitchen and food processing equipment. It opened in 2020, alongside Moeller’s new business.

“I’ve spent the past several years doing corporate office work, and Milwaukee Chip Company is my attempt to do something different,” he said.

Now Moeller is working to find businesses looking to add some local flavor to their offerings and scale up his supply chain.

“We pick up fresh Wisconsin-grown potatoes every week, directly from the farm. It’s a real win-win situation. We get fresh, high-quality potatoes, and we have the privilege of supporting Wisconsin agriculture in the process.”

The company is currently only selling its chips on a wholesale basis, direct to businesses.

If you want to get your hands on a bag right now you’ll have to go to Black Husky Brewing in Riverwest or Nice Sandwich in West Allis.

“You’ll see our chips in more and more places over the next couple months,” said Moeller.

You can also follow Milwaukee Chip Company’s growth on its website, Facebook page or Instagram account.

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