Brew City Oral History Collection
This collection is centered around detailing Milwaukee’s rich history with beer and brewing. This collection contains interviews from a diverse range of jobs in and around Milwaukee’s lively beer industry. From brewmasters to owners to journalists, this collection covers the history of brewing and beer culture within the city from a multitude of time periods and perspectives.
Kathy Flanigan is the former “beer writer” for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Flanigan describes her own journey through journalism and her process while writing, also commenting on Milwaukee’s beer culture and its changes through her tenure of writing.
Jim and Russ Klisch co-founded and own Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee, WI. They talk about their beginnings around the camaraderie that beer and drinking can have on culture, deciding to brew their own beers from home, and turning that into a business. They also comment on aspects of the brewing industry, from sustainability to diversity to working through the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Andrew Gierczak is the Brewmaster for Mobcraft Beer, Inc., a Milwaukee brewing company that uses public suggestions and votes to inspire their new novelty beers. Gierczak talks about his life growing up around Milwaukee, his microbiology background, and his experiences working in the Wisconsin beer industry. He also covers many of the challenges faced by Mobcraft including the pandemic, issues of diversity, and competition as a whole.
Dr. David Ryder is the former brewmaster for the Miller Beer Company, and now is the Chief Innovation Officer of City Lights Brewing Co. Born in England, Ryder learned his craft all around the world, earning him the moniker of “The Gypsy Brewer.” An expert in lagers, he goes through his life experiences, highlighting the similarities in the “beer world” that he has encountered over his tenure.
Simon McConico is a co-founder and co-owner of Vennture Brew Co. in Milwaukee. Vennture is a craft beer bar and coffeeshop in the Washington Heights neighborhood, where it emphasizes its ties with their community. McConico explains how they started with a few friends going around on “Beerventures” around the country, and had the idea to make their own beer and coffeeshop, which they thought was a unique concept. He talks about starting the business, its challenges, and their potential future plans.