City Lights Brewing Co. faced nine months of delays in 2016 before opening on February 1, 2017. The new brewery is tucked away in the West Side Water Works campus, across the Menomonee River from the Hank Aaron State Trail. Refurbishing the turn-of-the-century buildings proved to be a monumental task. City Lights is off to a thundering start as one of the latest additions to Milwaukee’s booming craft brewery scene.
The building was originally used to convert coal to gas for lighting Milwaukee’s streetlamps. Dating back to the turn of the 20th century, the building has no shortage of old-world charm. The refurbished space includes the original ceilings and an 1899 vintage crane, repurposed to secure the milled grain used in the brewery.
In Wisconsin, the economy impact of the beer industry was more than $8 billion in 2012. The industry supports over 56,000 jobs in the state, according to the “Beer Serves America” report by the Beer Institute of Washington, D.C. and the National Beer Wholesalers Association.
Milwaukee County contains Wisconsin’s Fourth Congressional District, where the beer the industry employs more than 7,000 workers and has a total economic impact of $1.7 billion. That figure includes the local giant, MillerCoors, but according to 2012 estimates from the Brewers Association, craft beer had an economic impact of $855.8 million in Wisconsin.
City Lights is sure to add to the growing impact of craft beer on Milwaukee County’s economic health. If you want to step into a piece of Milwaukee heritage, enjoy a local brew and support a new Milwaukee business at the same time, City Lights Brewing Co. is worth a look.
Photo credit: City Lights Brewing Co.