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The People's Flag of Milwaukee adopted by businesses despite no official recognition

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- It’s been over two years since a People’s Flag of Milwaukee was chosen in June, 2016. But despite no official recognition, the design is being used more and more by brands and companies around the Brew City.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett has been involved in the process since the beginning and describes the new flag as, "A sun rising over the lake and it symbolizes the three rivers we have in the city, it symbolizes the water we get, the brewing industry and it looks to the future.”

The initiative to change the Milwaukee flag started with 1,000 submissions which were whittled down to five finalists and then voted on by the public for a winner.

To see all the submissions and the finalists click here.

Steve Kodis is the man behind the entire initiative and says the demand once the new flag is adopted will be large, "If the headline drops: Milwaukee Adopts New City Flag, can you imagine the demand that there would be? There’s a lot of tangible value there.”

Businesses all over Milwaukee are already cashing in on that value. Alderman Khalif Rainey, a co-sponsor, of the resolution to make the flag official says businesses all over the city are taking ownership. Two of those businesses are well known in Milwaukee - the Milwaukee Brewers and Milwaukee Brewing Company. The Brewers have incorporated the new flag into their iconic logo for new hats, shirts and hoodies, "We’re great fans of Milwaukee. We think the flag is a very creative design. We like it a lot and we think it fits very well with our logo and colors so it’s a natural match,” said Senior VP Tyler Barnes.

Milwaukee Brewing Company is using the People's Flag as the backdrop for their newest beer, “It’s a package that any Milwaukeean is proud to carry around and have at a Brewer game. They’re fun to see out there,” said founder and owner Jim McCabe.

And the new designs are selling very well. Milwaukee Brewing says the MKE IPA which features the flag has grown to become their fastest growing beer since it was launched in February and it's almost outselling their flagship beer Louise's Demise.

The Milwaukee Brewers sold out of fitted caps with the new logo in just days and they are reordering more of all the hats, shirts and hoodies because they are selling so well.

The People’s Flag also flies in neighborhoods all across Milwaukee and there are already mock up designs ranging from the Milwaukee Bucks, the new streetcar and even a police patch. All before the flag has become official.

"It doesn’t really seem to matter for a lot of people. In fact, quite the opposite. People think it is the new Milwaukee flag. They think it’s officially adopted and if they don’t, they don’t really care, they would rather fly it anyway,” said Kodis.

"Clearly the people have already owned the flag. It’s the people’s flag so if it’s the people’s flag let’s make it the official city flag as well," added Alderman Rainey.

The resolution to adopt the flag still needs to got through committee and then a full vote before the Common Council. That process is expected to happen this summer. 

Web Extra: Steve Kodis discusses if redesigning the state flag might be the next project and how other cities across America are changing their flags through peoples led movements.

The People's Flag Web Extra from CBS 58 News on Vimeo.

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