Discover the spirited world of Madison’s craft beverages. Taste, fresh, local ingredients. Experience the dreams of makers poured into every glass and explore a sense of community at each spot. Crafted with an unmatched blend of unique makers and natural influence, Madison has the local libations that'll only leave you wanting more.
1. Locally brewed, women owned
Giant Jones Brewing Company is a compact brewery with a huge presence in Madison. Owners Jessica and Erica Jones specialize in small batches of big beers (7% alcohol by volume and up) – and it’s all certified organic. The duo keeps things simple and teases intense taste from just the essentials.
2. All in the family (business)
The flowing hillsides of Barneveld are home to a picture-perfect family winery. Botham Vineyards and Winery was Wisconsin’s first vine-to-bottle winery. Sarah and Peter Botham planted their vineyard – one of the first in the state – in 1989, and opened their tasting room in 1994.
Nick and Catherine Quint launched Madison’s first distillery – Yahara Bay Distillers – and the rest of the family followed. Their sons Nels and Lars lead the crafting of more than 100 beverages in house.
Family get-togethers inspired Brittany, Trent, and Mark Kraemer to launch award-winning local favorite Vintage Brewing Company – an elevated-Americana brewpub in 2009. They expanded to open a riverfront location in Sauk City in 2018. Dedication – one of their most popular beers – is an abbey 'extra' dubbel that took home a silver medal at the 2018 Best of Craft Beer Awards.
3. Local ingredients and awesome collabs
Philippe Coquard of Wollersheim Winery & Distillery brings inventive viticulture to the scene. He uses the winter weather to create an ice wine from frozen grapes early in the season. The freshly frozen fruit yields an especially sweet taste – delivering a delicious dessert companion wine.
Jay and Liz Henry combine corn from their family farm and area ingredients to create a genuinely-local taste. Want unique? J. Henry & Sons Wisconsin Straight Bourbon is the only distillery in the world to use heirloom red corn – developed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the 1930s.
Wisconsin Brewing Company puts on their thinking cap to expand their array of crafted beers by working with UW-Madison to help foster the future of brewing. President and CEO Carl Nolen forged an annual partnership with the university to allow students in the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences to produce one exclusive beer each year at the state-of-the-art brewery.
4. Finding international inspiration
John Mleziva – founder of State Line Distillery – brings Scottish knowledge to his distilling practices. His libation education started with his grandfather’s home brewing lessons and culminated with a Master of Science in Brewing and Distilling from Heriot-Watt University in Scotland. He uses that specialized education to transform local ingredients into masterful spirits distilled in-house.
Funk Factory Geuzeria brews the big lambic flavors of Belgium beers with their Méthode Traditionnelle style. Try the Four Winters – a traditional brew that takes 2-4 years to reach a sophisticated flavor. It’s a favorite of Head of Operations Andrew Holzhauer.
5. Drink well, do good
Tim “Pio” Piotrowski founded Delta Beer Lab with the belief that good drinks and good deeds should go hand in hand. On top of creating a variety of craft beers in-house, Delta carries compassion throughout their business. Employees enjoy profit-sharing, and all tips are donated to a rotating charity of the month.
Great Dane Pub and Brewing Company, Madison’s oldest brewpub, was born with a giving spirit. Their annual Adopt-a-Family program helps local families enjoy the holiday season. With a particular passion for helping kids thrive, Great Dane has contributed more than $1,000,000 since its foundation in 1994.