Lake Louie Brewing started out as a mid-life crisis for owner Tom Porter. He had spent 20+ years in the Engineering field and was looking to make a change in careers and a change in outlook. Having been homebrewing for a couple of years, Tom wrote a ‘cartoon’ of a business plan that stated that a 3 barrel brewery could make a profit (in the first year, no less!).
Armed with said business plan and a cashed in 401k, Tom and his wife DeAnn proceeded to convert a metal storage shed on their property into a nascent brewery.
Lake Louie Brewing is located on 18.5 acres of land purchased from Tom’s uncle Louie Carpenter (hence the name ‘Lake Louie’) near the small town of Arena, Wisconsin (population: not too many, traffic lights: zero). Lake Louie was the skinny dipping pond for area youth (including Tom in his day).
At the end of one full year’s brewing, Lake Louie has produced the astounding sum of 106 barrels of beer. 2001 year end totals: 276 barrels. A 258% increase in one year (lookout Bud!).
July, 2002 – By now, Tom had proven that a 3 barrel brewery could be financially self sustaining (as long as no one wanted a paycheck). Armed with this newfound knowledge and a second mortgage on his house, the Porters expanded the brewery to a 15 barrel brew house and more square footage.
2007 – Another addition to the building in (thanks to the local bank) and more tanks allowed capacity to reach 2000 barrels. The end of self-distribution in September 2008 when we joined the Frank Beer portfolio.
2011 – 4,000 barrels and change per year. Still a pretty small brewery, but making a dent in the Wisconsin market.
January, 2012 – Having signed distributor agreements to offer Lake Louie products Statewide, Lake Louie Brewing is poised to become the largest brewery in Arena, WI (OK, the only brewery ever in Arena).