Craft Brew Bar StoryGarth’s Brew Bar Progress Update – August


There’s always growth to be had.

These little progress updates started off as a way to communicate the build out of the bar leading up to its opening, but the depth of innovation we continue to traverse makes it worth continuing to share the latest news, changes and pivots we make to best help breweries thrive, raise the bar of bars, and bring our community closer.

What’s more is that we’re sort of full circle again with this being the first update to communicate the building and progress updates of the coffee shop. Yup. 🙂

Coffee Progress

You’re hearing it here first: we’ll be expanding hours and adding a lean, mean, curated selection of coffee drinks. Following a similar process for working to open the bar, I’ve been surveying area coffee drinkers, getting hands on training with experts (shoutout to Ben at Wonderstate for being so damn helpful), and going through the motions of planning layout, schedules, etc.,

You’ll be experiencing a lot of the same philosophy on coffee that you have with craft beer. We’ll be rotating roasters to showcase the awesomeness of various local roasters. You’ll get your palate on single-origin beans and get to watch no shortage of beautiful pour overs. We’re designing this to be a slow coffee place with beer & coffee geeks behind the bar.

Personally, my favorite part about this pivot will be that you can swing in nearly any time to grab beers to-go or to hang and enjoy a brew. No more having to check our hours or delay your happy hour schedule until we’re open.

Alas, there’s a lot to still do before we’re open (and let’s not forget about how terrible the supply chain is right now…), so if you have any wish-fors in your neighborhood coffee shop, send me a note:

As for opening, we’re targeting late fall, but it really does all depend on when the equipment arrives and construction is complete.


Right now, we’re straddling the line of breaking even on a monthly basis, and not. I’ve written before about how grateful I am for our landlord’s understanding of our business and the impact the pandemic continues to have on the comfort level of our neighborhood. Opening up for coffee is one way we’re going to ensure that we meet our daily projections (as you might recall from previous updates, I don’t pay myself a salary so all profits can go back into the team, the business, and, really, you!).

We’re also working through the process of getting the Building Improvement Grant that the city is administering as part of the American Rescue Plan wherein we may receive grant money to make building improvements like installing a reverse-osmosis water system or constructing a coffee station behind the bar. Most paperwork is submitted to the city for review and approval, so now we wait to see what ends up getting covered. Cross your fingers for us!

Another way we’re working to add some additional cash flow is through offsite beer truck sales. There were a lot of emails, phone calls, and paperwork to get things set with the city in time for the Music By The Water celebration at Lake Wingra last Friday, but we did it! I’ve poured my fair share at festivals, but it was so fulfilling to get great craft beer in the hands of neighbors at a local event. I really look forward to doing more pop ups around Madison.

Last, but not least, I’ll say it again: outside of swinging in for a six-pack or pint yourself, keep recommending us to your friends and family. It’s remarkable what 10 people telling 10 people can do for our business, the breweries and other neighborhood businesses next to us. <3

Best Of Madison Win

We are so incredibly grateful to all those who voted for us in Madison Magazine’s annual Best Of Madison contest. We were one of the four winners in the category of Madison’s Best Neighborhood Bar! What’s even cooler is the number of other businesses that won Best Of Madison in their respective categories –  we’ve collabed with a number of them for events at the bar already.

Check out all of the winners here.

Free Sample Wednesdays

You like great beer. We pour it proudly.

Now on Wednesdays from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m., we’re picking a few of our favorite breweries or beers in the cooler to sample out for free. Be sure to book your palate’s calendar for a tasting adventure every Wednesday through summer.

Other Events To Look Out For

All events will be posted to our Facebook events page, but here are a few worth mentioning so you keep your calendars clear…

Badger Game Days are nearly back. We’ll be sure to post about it on social, but you can count on us opening earlier for games and we’ll have them on if you choose to watch them at Garth’s Brew Bar.

A Milwaukee Brewery Tour is in the works and we’ll be offering spots on a bus for 30ish people on Oct 15th. More details and a sign up sheet will come in September’s newsletter, but consider this your Save The Date. We’ll have a couple of educational opportunities from a Certified Cicerone® (that’s me!) and an Advanced Certified Cicerone® Jessica Jones, of Giant Jones Brewing Company. It’s going to be epic.

A State Of The Industry Panel is getting planned for September. We’re bringing Wisconsin breweries, distributors, retailers and beer journalists together for an absolutely remarkable panel event wherein we’ll discuss the brewing industry in Wisconsin, upcoming trends and new ways we can support eachother. Tickets will be limited and we’ll make sure that newsletter subscribers are the first to know about it.

Special Tapping of our collab beer with Explorium is in the works. We brewed a Red Rye Ale with them (name TBD). It’s going to be delicious.

Great Taste Of Midwest

If you’re attending Great Taste this year, be sure to keep an eye out for me and say hi!

Leading up to the great taste, we’ll be hosting some great breweries: 608, Copperstate, PUBLIC Craft, MobCraft and we may sneak in a few others. Check our Facebook events page to know what’s happening when!

In case you didn’t know, the Great Taste also has an Education Tent. This year I’ll be teaming up with Erin Rassmussen of the American Wine Project to battle beer versus wine. I’m arguing that beer is a better charcuterie board partner. She says wine. We’re bringing the best pairings to the table and you’ll get to vote on who wins each pairing as well as which beverage is the best to pair with a charcuterie board. The event is free and Erin and I guarantee it’ll be a great time!

Last but not least… keep an eye on the Garth’s Brew Bar Instagram account for a chance to score two tickets to the Great Taste.

Mystery Beer Box

Our holiday advent calendar beer box was so popular that we decided to do a summer version. 24 Cicerone-curated beers that are 1. all wrapped so each is a mystery when you open it and 2. are not otherwise available in our beer cooler. You can get yours right at the bar or email and we’ll be sure to set one aside for you. As of writing this (8/7) there are only a handful left!

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