Captain Pabst Pilot House to permanently close taproom in December
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The Pabst Brewing Company announced Tuesday, Dec. 1, the Captain Pabst Pilot House -- located in Milwaukee's Brewery District -- will close permanently in December. All associated brewing activities at the Milwaukee brewery will relocate to Pabst's head office location in San Antonio.
“To hear that they’ve had to close due to it is devastating," Ashley Larsen, who works nearby, said.
Larsen said she was shocked at the news and also knows some of the Pabst employees.
“That’s been a really great place for a lot of coworkers, and people in the area, to meet up after work, grab a drink," she explained.
“This has been an extremely difficult year for all hospitality and tourism businesses, and it has been no different for the Captain Pabst Pilot House,” said Matt Bruhn, GM, Pabst Brewing Company. “Unfortunately, with no signs of the business improving, the company has come to the difficult decision to close the Captain Pabst Pilot House operation effective Dec. 21.”
The Captain Pabst Pilot House is located in a historic 145-year old building on the original Pabst complex – the former First German Methodist Church at 1037 W. Juneau Ave.
“It’s been estimated that up to 40% of bars and restaurants could be at risk of closing here in the state," Steve Baas, senior vice president of governmental affairs for the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, said. "And the hotel scene, it’s actually a little bit more dire. There’s about 50% of hotels are at risk in Wisconsin."
Baas added that most every business in the hospitality sector has been struggling.
Named for the iconic brewing legend, Frederick Pabst, the facility houses a 4,000 barrel per year microbrewery on its first floor, with a taproom area and performance stage on the second floor. It also features an outdoor beer garden and a mezzanine area.
“This is an amazing space,” said Pilot House General Manager Adam Powers. “It’s a sad day for me, my team and Pabst-lovers here in Milwaukee. But it’s my sincere hope that once we move beyond the pandemic, that someone with a love of Milwaukee brewing history will work to make this facility a thriving, viable business moving forward.”
All associated brewing activities at the Milwaukee brewery will relocate to Pabst's head office location in San Antonio.
“Of course, this is a horrible thing for that neighborhood," VISIT Milwaukee Senior Media Relations Manager Claire Koenig said.
But she added that the closures are something consumers can help prevent.
“If you can, try getting takeout dinner," she encouraged. "Try buying a gift card to a place that you love going to but you haven’t been to since March because of the pandemic.”