Two new beer gardens to be brought to Milwaukee County Parks

Milwaukee County is planning to add two new beer gardens, or outdoor areas where beer and food are served, in county parks, according to a proposal released last Monday. Some of the revenue from the beer gradens would go toward park maintenance.

The new beer gardens would be modeled after this year’s newly opened garden in Estabrook Park, located at 4400 N. Estabrook Ln.

The Estabrook Park Beer Garden is owned and operated by Hans Weisgerber III, who also owns the Old German Beer Hall located at 1009 N. Old World Third St.

Weisgerber said the proposal of an authentic Munich-style beer garden is something he has focused on for a while.

“It’s been a long-standing desire of mine to bring an authentic public beer garden to Milwaukee,” he said.

He initially proposed the idea to the Milwaukee Historical Society and wanted to open the garden in Pere Marquette Park.

“We were unable to get support from the society because they were concerned that it would interfere with their banquet operations,” Weisgerber said.

The Estabrook beer garden has earned the county about $65,000. The county received 20 percent of beer sales and 10 percent of food sales under its contract with Weisgerber.

The proposal for the two new beer gardens is part of the Parks Amenities Matching Fund proposed by County Board Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic and Third District Supervisior Gerry Broderick.

The fund plans to raise an estimated $800,000 for the parks, an estimate based on beer garden revenue projects, anticipated Milwaukee County land sales and leveraged donations, according to a press release issued by Dimitrijevic Oct. 22.

This sum would only cover a small portion of the parks’ deferred maintenance. A 2010 county audit found more than $200 million in deferred park maintenance.

Joe Roszak, chief of business operations for Milwaukee County Parks, said the revenue projected to come from the three beer gardens, $65,000 each at the moment, is an accurate estimate.

“The (Estabrook beer garden) generated about $65,000, so I think it’s safe to think the other gardens will do just as well,” he said.

Aside from its financial benefits, Roszak said the Estabrook beer garden gives community organizations new options in event planning.

“It’s a great option for people in the community who may not have the resources, who are looking to do things in the parks,” he said.

No specific locations for the two new beer gardens have been chosen, but the county plans to locate one on the south side and the northwest or west side of Milwaukee, according to the proposal.