Story by JR Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; Photo by Kenny Yoo, Milwaukee Business Journal
The Brewers offered a glimpse into construction at the restaurant site in the left-field corner at American Family Field on Friday, showing off the work that’s already been done to bring the “J. Leinenkugel’s Barrel Yard” to life. The space was born as Friday’s Front Row Sports Grill and changed to The Restaurant to be Named Later in 2020.
The remodeled space makes room for a three-barrel brewing system, with beer available only within the walls of the stadium. It’s scheduled to open for the club’s home opener April 3.
“This is a completely re-imagined space,” Brewers president of business operations Rick Schlesinger said. “It’s really supposed to evoke a lake feel — bright colors, better lighting and great visuals. It’s a great experience for people at the games and a great dining establishment. It’s a big investment that the club is making in partnership with MolsonCoors.”
Leinenkugels, which falls under the MolsonCoors umbrella, is a familiar name for Wisconsinites.
“When you think of Leinenkugel’s, you think of summer, you think of summer beer,” Schlesinger said. “We’re excited that they’re our partner. They add great branding, great identification. It’s an instant connection with our fans.”
Indeed, it’s a brighter vibe inside the space, and while it’s not as big as the heretofore restaurant, Schlesinger imagines fans coming and going during games and lingering in the bar area. Tables near the windows looking out at the field will continue to be sold for gameday packages.
Schlesinger said the franchise borrowed ideas from other ballparks with similar concepts, including Atlanta and Colorado. Blue Moon was famously first brewed at the Sandlot Brewery at Coors Field in 1995. Schlesinger said he expects new beers to be brewed on site roughly every month.
The site’s kitchen size remains the same, with the expectation that it will be open year-round as a restaurant, with pared-down offerings (cheese curds, hamburgers, sausages) on game day.
“Our fans have been telling us what they want, and based on the fan survey that we’ve done, I think the menu is really going to resonate with them.”