The original Sprecher building in the Menominee Valley

Sprecher History

Sprecher Brewing Co. has a long history as the oldest Craft Brewery in Milwaukee, and our story is one of devotion to craft, commitment to the community, and a drive to share our fire-brewed sodas and beers with customers nationwide. We grew from an idea in the mind of Randy Sprecher to a Milwaukee craft brewing institution proudly owned by a small group of local investors. This is our story. 

The Inspiration

Randy’s love affair with brewing began in Europe. He was drafted into the army during the Vietnam war, but due to colorblindness he was sent to work for a general in Augsburg, Germany. There, Randy fell in love with German beers. After his time in Augsburg, he returned to California, where he grew up, and began brewing German beers at home. In 1972, Randy decided to take his hobby to the next level, and applied to study fermentation science at UC-Davis. Then, he perplexed the State of California by applying to establish a microbrewery—a concept that the state did not understand. Down but not out, Randy secured a post as Supervisor of Brewing Operations at Pabst’s Milwaukee brewery. He packed up everything he owned into a VW Van and moved to Milwaukee.

Randy Sprecher flanked by two brewers in Europe

Milwaukee's Original Craft Brewery is Born

In 1984, Randy left Pabst and established Sprecher Brewing Co. In 1985 Randy opened our first location at 730 W. Oregon St. in Walker’s Point. He hand-built much of the brewery equipment with friends, including the original gas-fired brew kettle. However, in 1993, a canal retainer wall fell into the Menominee river, and the brewery’s parking lot went down with it. It became difficult to access the brewery after that, so Sprecher relocated to a renovated elevator cab factory in Glendale.

Collapsed canal wall near the old Sprecher Brewery Building

Sprecher Brewing Today

Today Sprecher is one of the only breweries in the U.S. that uses fire brewing to create craft beer and soda with bold flavor. It is fire-brewing, plus Raw honey, that makes Sprecher Root Beer the best-tasting root beer in the United States. Don’t believe us? Ask the New York Times. The popularity of Sprecher’s unique craft beverages has led to continued expansion of the Glendale, Wisconsin facilities. In February of 2020, Randy Sprecher retired having achieved his dreams. He wanted the company to stay in local hands, so he sold it to a small team of Milwaukee investors.

 In these capable hands, Sprecher will continue to fire-brew delicious craft sodas and beers in the Milwaukee area. Visit today to see what we are up to! Take the tour to see our lab, brewhouse, and production area, and learn all about our history and craft brewing process. Then, relax in our beer garden and sample craft beverages while munching on local snacks. Become part of the Sprecher story—visit today. Prost!

Griffin in front of the new Sprecher Building in Glendale, WI