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Baderbräu Moves Contract Brewing To Wisconsin, Targets 2014 Open For Chicago Brewery

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Apr 10, 2013 3:30PM

2013_4_10_baderbrau_small.png Baderbräu, Chicago's craft beer before the term became de rigueur, made a splashy return to the Windy City last year. Last week Baderbräu announced they shifted production of their Pilsner to Stevens Point Brewery, allowing the company to increase production to meet retail demand, improve quality control and give them some breathing room as they prepare for a huge 2013 and 2014.

Chicagoist spoke with Baderbräu's Joe Berwanger last week about the move and the first question we had was how the move affected their previous relationship with Argus Brewing in Pullman. Baderbräu invested capital in Argus to expand that brewery's capacity. "We love those guys and are still in contact with them," Berwanger said. "But brewing 20-barrel batches at Argus means just getting enough beer out the door is difficult. At Stevens Point, we'll be brewing 100-barrel batches. Brewing in two places is also difficult for quality control."

Berwanger said Stevens Point was on Baderbräu's short list for contract brewers for close to three years but the waiting list to get in there is almost always full. Baderbräu began talks with Stevens Point in the fall, just as they started their re-launch, and began brewing there in January. He said Argus paid back Baderbräu's investment in their brewery.

The increased production means it will be easier to find Baderbräu in 6-pack bottles at retail locations across Chicago. Berwanger said the beer's retail sales doubled the first week of the re-launch and they had trouble keeping up with demand, so they decided to focus on draft production while negotiating with Stevens Point.

The move to Stevens Point also means Baderbräu can focus on finding a Chicago location to start a brewery, which Berwanger said is on target for 2014. He wouldn't divulge details to Chicagoist on a location but promised "it will blow everyone's mind" once the announcement is made. Baderbräu also plans on expanding past their flagship pilsner and will release other beer styles later this year.