PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — Years after the idea was born, a new brewery has opened its doors in Platteville.
UpDraft Brewery opened this week at 45 S. Chestnut St. in Platteville, near Steve’s Pizza Palace. The brewery is owned by John Patakos, who was the longtime owner of Steve’s Pizza before selling the business last year.
“The idea (for the brewery) that we were kicking around was with a couple of friends,” Patakos said. “For the first couple of years, we were not that serious, but then we decided to do something and work on the building here. Then COVID(-19) hit, and for a couple of years, we didn’t do much because we didn’t know what the economy was going to look like. When things were looking better, we said, ‘Let’s follow this idea.’”
UpDraft Brewery initially was planned in 2015 as an expansion of Steve’s Pizza, but plans for the brewery didn’t come together at that time. When Patakos sold Steve’s Pizza, he retained ownership of the Chestnut Street building that had been used as storage for the restaurant.
Patakos said the UpDraft team has spent the past nine months renovating that building into the brewery. The work included filling in the building’s basement so the floors can support the weight of the brewing equipment, as well as making an inviting taproom where patrons can view the brewing equipment.
“We have a seven-barrel system,” Patakos said. “We’re brewing, at the moment, five different kinds of beers, but we can do up to 16. It’s a 16-tapper system.”
The beers being brewed on-site include King Kolsch — which Patakos described as a German-style, pale beer — and an Oktoberfest-style beer called Celebrate. Patakos said the brewery also will have a “really nice American porter” called Midnight Madness, and two IPAs.
“Right now, we’re brewing for the town and the people coming into the taproom,” he said. “But we’ve had a lot of feedback from bar and restaurant owners in town that have said, ‘We’d like to carry your beer. When can you start distributing to us?’”
Patakos said the brewery offers prepackaged items such as chips and pretzels for customers, but he also is interested in collaborating with other businesses on food in the future.
“We’d like working with bars and restaurants in town that have food down the road and say, ‘If you put our beers in your tappers, we’ll gladly bring your menu here to have people DoorDash or deliver here,’” he said. “I’ve been here many years, and it’s nice to help each other out.”
Grant County Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Ron Brisbois said breweries such as UpDraft make the area a destination.
“That’s something people look for,” he said of breweries. “A lot of visitors look for how to plan day or weekend trips, and they are looking for opportunities to visit places like that. UpDraft fits very well into that planning. It keeps people here longer. It gives an opportunity, from an economic development standpoint, to spend more money there.”
Brisbois added that he was glad to see UpDraft rehabilitating a downtown building for the business.
“Keeping the downtown looking sharp and attractive lends itself to success and works well with other businesses there,” he said. “It just creates a really inviting environment people remember and want to visit again. … The downtown area of Platteville is a key area that really needs to be maintained and looking attractive, so I’m excited about them maintaining and upscaling that building.”
Patakos said the brewery is a way for him to give back to the community after years in business.
“We’re looking to have fun,” he said. “(When I sold Steve’s Pizza), people asked me if I was going to be retiring, and I said, ‘I don’t think I’m ready for retirement.’ I’m an immigrant from Greece who came here as a young boy. I feel that I need to give back to the community and country that invited me in, and this is my thank-you to the citizens of Platteville.”
Joe Carroll, Platteville’s community development director, said the city is excited to see the new brewery opening.
“Any new business opening up is a good thing in Platteville,” he said. “We’re especially excited about businesses that have the opportunity to bring in people from outside the community. Hopefully, that will be the case for UpDraft.”