It’s one of the most “Milwaukee” stories I’ve seen: Thousands of people, lined up in the cold outside overnight to buy three bottles of Lakefront Brewery’s Black Friday Beer.
The doors open at 8:00am, but Lakefront’s tour manager, Dylan Mazurkiewicz, says when people get kicked out of bars around 2:00am, they show up to get in line.
“It’s like this every year,” Mazurkiewicz recalls. “If we get here at 5:00am, there’s already a line down the whole front ramp hanging out like ‘Whoo, what’s going on?!’ It’s a lot of fun.”
So what exactly are they all waiting for?
Lakefront will offer its 2017 edition of the Black Friday Imperial Stout aged in bourbon barrels. Each person will have the opportunity to receive three bottles for $15 each.
New this year, Lakefront will offer a Vintage Reserve made from barrels of 2014, 2015 and 2016, with a limit of one bottle per person for $25 each.
Check out this quick video for a full description of the Black Friday specials:
Lakefront’s Black Friday event dates back five years. Mazurkiewicz says his first day on the job was actually a little more than a week before Lakefront did a special release on Black Friday for the first time.
“It was quite the spectacle, but it was the first year we ever really tried,” he recalls. “So, we finished and there was a lot of ‘Ok, here’s what we’ve got to improve on next year. One of the things was brewing way more because we sold out before 11:00 that day and were like, ‘Ok, guess we’re done!'”
Mazurkiewicz estimates the first year, Lakefront sold a little less than a thousand bottles. Fast forward to 2017, and they’ve got several thousand bottles ready to go.
The first few years, Lakefront offered a hoppy beer, but found that it didn’t age as well as they hoped. So, they rolled out a new Black Friday beer: the imperial stout that it is today.
“That year was probably the craziest one I remember,” Mazurkiewicz says. “We had just changed the style, so if people had already come, they were back in to try something new. And every year since then, it’s been that style.”