BY KATIE MATTESON
Angie and Andy Molina will celebrate the first anniversary of Racine Brewing Company on March 3 with the release of three new beers, music by Jim McVeigh and tacos from Los Mariachis.
Those who attend the celebration between noon and 9 p.m. will have chance to experience the releases of Bourbon Barrel Aged Granny’s House Apple-Cranberry Ale, Bourbon Barrel Aged Maslow Russian Imperial Stout (bottle release only!) and the firkin release of Dear Abbey Belgian Tripel, aged on fresh raspberries and blackberries, along with their regular line-up of beer and soda on tap.
The celebration is an important milestone in their entrepreneurial journey.
Andy had worked as a machine operator at a local manufacturer for 17 years when Angie encouraged him to do what he loved. He wasn’t convinced that his dream job would pay enough to support the couple’s blended family with three of their five children still living at home.
He had more time to think about it when he was off work because he hurt his back on the job.
He’d taken up homebrewing as a hobby and really loved it.
The couple started researching the prospect of opening a brewery in Racine in 2015 and spent six months building a business plan before they found the perfect spot in July 2017 at 303 Main St. in Downtown Racine.
The former retail store and photography studio needed a lot of work and without the benefit of investors or a bank loan, the couple cashed out their retirement savings to follow their dream.
Angie initially kept her job at the Montessori school, but soon realized that she was needed full time in the business.
They drew on their hometown roots to come up with the logo for the brewery – the logo used on the boys gym uniforms in the 1970s. They checked in with Racine Unified School District and verified there was not a copyright before adopting it as their own.
A customer created a mural of the design on the wall of the taproom and insisted on no payment for the service outside of a ceremonial toast with a tapped beer.
The couple has been blown away by the positive response they’ve received from fellow Racinians to their new endeavor.
Earlier this year, they rolled out a Mug Club and sold out immediately with 50 members. They anticipate adding more members in the future.
They’ve also gotten a great response from their soda offerings and family-friendly atmosphere. Customers appreciate that the soda is made from natural fruit extracts and pure cane sugar, with no chemicals.
Andy said he recently perfected his secret blend of Root Beer and also offers Cream Soda and Raspberry as standard offerings, plus other rotating flavors which currently are Peppermint New York Cheesecake and Ginger.
As Andy develops new beers, he’s settled on a few regular offerings, including Hola Racine Ale with agave, Enchanted Forest IPA, Dragon Boat Warrior Amber Ale, Afternoon Delight French Saison, Hula Chaser Porter with organic coconut, plus other rotating beers.
Considered a nano brewery, Andy uses a three-barrel brewing system with four fermenters and two carbonation tanks. This allows him to brew six barrels a week for the taproom and Downtown Racine Corporation events.
The couple will soon replace the brewing system with a new one, which will offer more efficiency.
In addition to the beverages, the taproom also offers pizza from DeRango the Pizza King on 6 Mile Road and fresh Bavarian pretzels.
They also provide regular entertainment and special events.
Racine Brewery Company is open Wednesday and Thursday 3-9 p.m., Friday 3 – 11 p.m., Saturday, Noon – 11 p.m. and Sunday Noon – 7 p.m. Closed Monday and Tuesday.
For more information, call (262) 631-0670 or visit racinebrewingcompany.com.