Hop Haus plans to expand into a much larger facility in Fitchburg with an on-site restaurant while keeping its Verona location open.
The 231 S. Main St. brewery opened in 2015 and has become a popular staple for trivia nights and music.
The bar publicly announced the expansion proposal Monday, July 1.
The owners have filed for a conditional use permit with the City of Fitchburg to construct a 10,800 square foot facility at the corner of Sub-Zero Parkway and Seminole Highway, which would be more than four times the size of its current location.
According to the application, it would open in May 2020.
“This has been a long time coming,” Phil Hoechst told the Press in an interview Thursday. “It’s the right time, it’s the right spot.”
Fitchburg’s Common Council approved a tax-increment financing agreement Tuesday with the developer, Supreme Structures, to construct that and a neighboring office building that will serve as the headquarters for Race Day Events. The Hop Haus proposal will go to the city’s Plan Commission at its July 16 meeting.
The brewery celebrated its fourth anniversary the weekend of June 20-22, and a post on Facebook said “it has been an amazing journey so far and we can’t wait to see what this year brings! Cheers!”
The application with Fitchburg states the brewery has outgrown its current location.
“Their business has grown and they are looking to expand into a larger facility that provides greater opportunity for brewing, larger tasting room capacity with full service restaurant and an opportunity for event space,” the application states.
Hoechst said the menu would be “simple” with features like burgers, tacos and options for kids, but having a full kitchen would allow them to do specials.
The new location would feature an outdoor patio for various events, lawn games and seating, as well as some rooftop seating. It will also have a separate event space available to rent out, Hoechst said.
Owners Phil and Sara Hoechst are Verona residents, and Phil had been homebrewing as a hobby while working as a physical therapist before starting the business. Since then, some of its beers, particularly its signature Magic Dragon and Yard Work India pale ale and its Plaid Panther Scotch Ale have been distributed in various locations around the Madison area, both on tap and in bottles.
Phil Hoechst told the Press they plan to continue to brew small batches at the Verona location and use the new space for larger batches.
“It’ll allow us to do some cool stuff before we ramp it up on the big system,” he said.
That system will allow them to brew up to 2,500 barrels a year, a jump from the 1,300 they did last year, Hoechst said, 1,000 of which were brewed off site through a contract.